COVINGTON -- Former Newton County resident Abel Torres was found guilty of the murder of his roommate Fernando Gonzalez in Newton County Superior Court Wednesday.
Newton County District Attorney Layla Zon prosecuted the case against the 31-year-old Torres, who was represented by the Public Defender's Office.
"This case was not without its challenges," she said. "We had a witness in Mexico that voluntarily agreed to come to testify. Without his testimony, we would not have been able to try this case."
The murder occurred in April of 2008 when Torres, Gonzalez and two other men were living in a house located in the Trelawney subdivision off Brown Bridge Road in western Newton County.
Authorities learned that Gonzalez had been shot and killed by Torres after the other two roommates flagged down a Georgia State Patrol trooper on Ga. 20 and told him "there was a problem" at their residence.
Investigators with the Newton County Sheriff's Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation converged on the scene and shortly learned that the fourth roommate, Torres, had fled. As all vehicles belonging to the men were accounted for, investigators deduced he had left the area via taxi and later a bus bound for California. Police intercepted the bus in Birmingham, Ala., and Torres was arrested.
The 29-year-old victim had come from California, along with Torres, and lived in Newton County only a few months prior to his death.
"The family (of the victim) has waited patiently for this day, and so for them especially, I am glad to see the outcome of this case," Zon said after Torres received a sentence of life plus 35 years. "The Sheriff's Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation partnered on this investigation and should both be commended for a job well done."