Guilty verdict for man charged with possession, sentenced to 40 years

Willie Guillermo Torres was found guilty of possession of a controlled substance by a Tom Green County jury and sentenced to 40 years of confinement, one day after his 43rd birthday. 

According to court documents on March 9, 2015, Torres was a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over for a traffic offense. Torres was making furtive movements. Police found methamphetamine under his seat. He was arrested on warrants. While in custody, police found another bag of meth in his pants.

On Tuesday morning, after deliberating for one hour, a jury found Torres guilty of possession of a controlled substance.

After the jury found him guilty, Torres chose to let the judge hand down the sentence instead of the jury.

During the sentencing phase, the jury was dismissed and the defense and state were allowed to call witnesses to the stand.

Torres’ defense attorney Todd Simons called a psychiatrist to the stand. In court the psychiatrist told the judge that he believes Torres’ mental condition was previously misdiagnosed through the Texas Department of Corrections while Torres was in jail.

“He has a depressed skull injury that could result in poor judgement which he has,” Dr. Scott said.

Torres had previously been in the mental retardation program then released while in prison. It’s unclear whether the traumatic event that led to the depressed skull or inhalants and drug use resulted in what Dr. Scott called a psychiatric and neurological disorder.

Judge Tom Gossett told Dr. Scott, “I have a limited number of options and those are between 25 and 99 years.”

Torres previously admitted to being guilty of prior burglary of a habitation charges that enhanced the possession of a controlled substance charge to a third degree felony enhanced to habitual, that has a minimum sentence of 25 years.

Attorneys for the state Richard Villarreal and Ashley Knight did not call any witness to the stand during the punishment phase. Villarreal presented punishment evidence that showed the court a time line of offenses committed by Torres. The earliest conviction dated back to 1992 where Torres was convicted of burglary of a habitation and while out of jail on parole just days later was charged with another burglary of a habitation. In all Torres has had four previous felony convictions for burglary of a habitation. Torres has also had previous convictions for resisting arrest and evading arrest. In court evidence was presented that Torres had committed a new burglary of a habitation in February 2015.

A statement from the 51st and 119th District Attorney’s Office said, “Methamphetamine is an addictive and dangerous substance and its abuse often leads to the commission of additional criminal acts such as burglaries. In order to protect our community, we will continue to aggressively prosecute those who abuse methamphetamine and other illegal substances.”