Five Suspects Accused of Murdering Eric Torrez Have Court Hearings
SAN ANGELO, TX — The five suspects accused of murdering Eric Torrez and hiding his body last summer go before a District Judge on Thursday.
According to court documents, David Navarro,43, is charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping. He remains jailed on $500,000 bond. Navarro had appeared before 51st District Judge Barbara Walther but this week’s pretrial has been set to be heard by 340th District Judge Jay Weatherby at Judge Walther’s request. Walther earlier this fall announced she would take senior judge status, effectively retiring. Texas Governor Greg Abbott then appointed San Angelo attorney Carmen Dusek to replace Walther as District Judge.
Navarro is also charged with assaulting a family member with a previous conviction which is a third degree felony.
Angella Rebecca Wray, 34, is charged with aggravated kidnapping and engaging in organized crime for her role in Torrez’s murder. Wray was released on $500,000 bond. Her jury trial is scheduled for Dec. 17.
Stephen Lynn Jennings, 35, is also charged with capital murder in addition to tampering with physical evidence of a human corpse. He was released from jail on $500,000 bond. Jennings court hearing is a request to stop DNA testing.
Kristen Anne Jennings, 29, is charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping and remains in jail in lieu of $500,000 bond. She has a pretrial hearing before Judge Weatherby.
Garry Lynn Jennings, 62, is charged with murder, aggravated kidnapping and tampering with physical evidence a human body. He has a pretrial hearing before Judge Weatherby. Jennings’ other pretrial hearings had been held in front of 391st District Judge Brad Goodwin. Jennings remains in jail in lieu of $500,000 bond.
All five cases will be heard by Judge Weatherby on Thursday.
As we reported last July, Eric Torrez was contacted by Stephen Jennings to place a bid on a construction job. This bid, however, was just a ploy to eventually lure Torrez to a residence located at 7481 Duckworth Road in Tom Green County. Torrez was to travel outside of Taylor County, where he lived, for the bid. His absence would allow Kristen Jennings, wife to Stephen Jennings, and Garry Jennings, father of Stephen Jennings, to travel to a residence in Taylor County for Kristen Jennings to gain physical possession over a female juvenile, the daughter of both Torrez and Kristen.
After taking Torrez to the residence on Duckworth Rd., court documents describe that Stephen Jennings got into a verbal and physical confrontation with Torrez. During the physical confrontation, Stephen Jennings gained possession of a firearm and shot and killed Torrez.
Garry Jennings told law enforcement that he had observed Torrez with a gunshot wound to the head and laying on the floor in the living area. He then admitted to cleaning up the scene with Stephen Jennings by mopping up a pool of blood and assisting in moving the body of the victim by physically taking hold of the socks that were on the feet of Torrez. Garry Jennings also admitted to helping Stephen Jennings physically move the human remains from the floor to the back door of the residence.
Two days later, a search warrant was executed of the Duckworth residence where blood spatter was located by Texas Ranger Nick Hanna and observed to be on the wall in the immediate area of where Garry Jennings had said he had observed the body of the victim.
Eight days later, on August 4, Torrez’s body was found in a rural area of Crockett County by Tom Green County Sheriff’s Office Deputies. Texas Ranger Nick Hanna observed at least one gunshot wound to the head.
Capital murder is punishable by life in prison without parole or death. Jury trial dates for have not been set for Navarro, Stephen Jennings, Kristen Jennings or Garry Jennings.