A former Marine corporal convicted of rape in Arlington and potentially facing the death penalty in a 2009 slaying at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall has been charged with stabbing two young girls to death in Illinois in 2005.
The Lake County State's Attorney's Office announced Tuesday that 23-year-old Jorge A. Torrez has been charged in the killings of 8-year-old Laura Hobbs and 9-year-old Krystal Tobias. The two were killed in May 2005 in a park in Zion, Ill., a town outside of Chicago.
Torrez used to live there and was friends with Krystal's brother.
Laura's father, Jerry Hobbs, was initially arrested in the killings and spent five years in jail awaiting trial until DNA evidence implicated Torrez in the case.
Torrez was indicted in federal court in Alexandria last year in the July 2009 slaying of Amanda J. Snell, a Navy petty officer. In 2010 in Arlington County Circuit Court, Torrez was sentenced to five life terms for abducting and raping one woman and robbing another in separate attacks.
Illinois authorities will wait until the federal murder case against Torrez concludes before trying to prosecute him, said Stephen Scheller, the chief of the criminal division for the Lake County State's Attorney's Office.
Scheller said there was other evidence besides DNA that links Torrez to the killings, but he would not elaborate.
Jerry Hobbs confessed to the stabbings, but he has said the confession was coerced during a lengthy police interrogation. Charges against him were dropped in August 2010, shortly after the DNA match to Torrez came to light. His DNA had been entered into a national database after Torrez was arrested in the February 2010 attacks in Arlington.
"We just followed where the evidence led us," Scheller said. He said the charges against Torrez were announced the same day Lake County authorities disclosed that a man had been arrested in a 1994 murder for which another man had been convicted and sentenced to life in prison. The new charges in that case were also based on DNA evidence.
Torrez's trial in Snell's death is scheduled to begin in February 2013. Prosecutors have said they will seek a death sentence if he is convicted and have cited the Illinois murders as a reason behind that decision.
Torrez served in the Marines from September 2006 to April 2010. He was stationed at Henderson Hall at the time of the Arlington assaults and Snell's killing.