Accused killer in Newton jail

COVINGTON - The man accused of killing his roommate at a home in Trelawney subdivision in late April is now in the Newton County Detention Center awaiting trial.

Abel Torres, 28, was booked as a resident of 14652 Choke Cherry Drive, Victorville, Calif. The slaying took place at 170 Trelawney Circle where it is believed Torres lived for a few months with the victim, 29-year-old Fernando Gonzales, and two other men.

He was charged with felony murder, murder, two counts of false imprisonment, three counts of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of a felony.

Authorities said Torres shot Gonzales and fled the scene, taking a taxi from Newton County and making his way to an Atlanta bus station. He was arrested only hours after the incident on a bus bound for California at a Birmingham, Ala., bus stop. He was taken into custody by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and has remained jailed in Alabama since that time.

According to an earlier interview with John Bankhead, spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which assisted the NCSO with the investigation, a Georgia State Patrol Trooper was flagged down on Interstate 20 and advised by two Hispanic men that "there was a problem" at their residence. He, in turn, notified Newton County authorities who discovered Gonzales' body.

Gonzales' death marked the sixth murder in Newton County in 2008.

Barbara Knowles can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com.