POSTED: 11:47 a.m. HST, Mar 7, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 3:10 p.m. HST, Mar 7, 2013
A former Pearl Harbor base police officer charged with murder in connection with the disappearance in 1992 of a Navy Exchange cashier pleaded no contest in state court this morning to first-degree assault.
As part of his plea deal with the state Attorney General, Jenaro Torres, 64, agreed to the maximum prison term.
State Circuit Judge Michael Wilson imposed the 10-year sentence and ordered Torres to serve at least five years of the sentence behind bars for using a firearm to commit the assault.
Torres has already been in state custody for seven years.
Ruben Gallegos disappeared on May 1, 1992 while working at the Pearl Harbor Naval Base Exchange. He was last seen being escorted out of his cashier’s cage by Torres.
Pearl Harbor police arrested Torres attempting to enter the Navy base later that day. In his car they found most of the $80,000 that was assigned to Gallegos, the cashier’s wallet, identification and other personal belongings, a stun gun and a firearm that contained three spent shell casings.
Gallegos’s body was never found.
Torres pleaded no contest in federal court to theft and a firearm charge and was sentenced to two years in prison.
In 2005 the state charged Torres with murder. A state jury found him guilty in 2007.
Despite the pleas from Gallegos’s sister, Torres refused to give authorities the location of Gallegos’s body. At his parole hearing, he said he would do so at the appropriate time.
The Hawaii Supreme Court overturned Torres’s conviction in 2011 because of the manner in which federal police seized the items they found in Torres’s car.