Incarcerated ex-Marine charged in 2009 slaying of Navy petty officer

A former U.S. Marine already serving a prison sentence was charged Thursday in the 2009 slaying of a female Navy petty officer at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington County, federal prosecutors said.

Jorge Avila Torrez, 22, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of 20-year-old Amanda Jean Snell, prosecutors said in a news release. Torrez was an active-duty Marine Corps corporal stationed at the base when the killing occurred, and Snell was a Navy petty officer there, the prosecutors said.

Few other details about the slaying were immediately available. The news release said that Snell was found dead in her barracks room on July 13 and that Torrez had killed her two days earlier. The release did not say how Snell was killed or what the motive for her slaying might have been.

“Today, we are charging Jorge Torrez with murdering a young Navy Petty Officer in her barracks,” U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil H. MacBride said in the release. “This indictment is the result of extreme dedication by NCIS and the Arlington County Police Department to follow every lead possible to bring the person responsible for Amanda’s murder to justice.”

Torrez is already incarcerated at Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison, serving five life sentences plus 168 years stemming from the February 2010 abduction and rape of a University of Maryland graduate student and another attempted kidnapping weeks earlier, federal and local authorities said.

He attacked the 23-year-old student and her friend, bound them with electrical cords inside the friend’s home, then raped the 23-year-old, authorities have said. He eventually choked her and left her for dead in a remote area of Prince William County, authorities have said. He was convicted and sentenced late last year.

Torrez is also a suspect in the 2005 killing of two young girls in his hometown of Zion, Ill., law enforcement sources have said. DNA evidence linked him to those slayings and forced prosecutors to drop charges against another man.

Torrez was discharged from the military in April 2010, a Marine spokesman has said. His sister said last year that he joined the Marines immediately after high school and spent time in Okinawa, Japan, before moving to Northern Virginia.

Staff researcher Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.

Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.
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