Rapist left her to die in the snow, woman testifies

By Maria Glod
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The University of Maryland graduate student was returning from a Saturday night with friends when the man with a gun abducted her on an Arlington County street. Over the next few hours, he tied her hands with the electrical cord from an iron, forced her into his SUV, raped her and drove her to a secluded, wooded area.

Then, the slender 23-year-old woman, told an Arlington County jury on Tuesday, the man reached toward her neck.

"He undid the scarf that was around my neck, then tightened," she said through tears. "I screamed, 'What are you doing?' He responded, 'What do you think I'm doing?' "

He kept tugging. The next thing she remembers, she said, she awoke to find herself facedown in the snow. Prosecutors say Jorge "George" Torrez, a 21-year-old former Marine, left her for dead, his final act in a string of violent crimes they allege he committed in February.

"She came to consciousness in the snow - cold, wet and her shoes missing," Arlington County Commonwealth's Attorney Richard E. Trodden said. "She struggled to get up, but her legs didn't want to move. So she crawled, she stumbled, she struggled until she got to the highway."

Torrez, who was discharged from the Marines in April, is also accused in the attack of the woman's friend on the same night and in an attempted abduction two weeks earlier.

In addition, genetic evidence gathered after the Virginia crimes has linked Torrez to the slayings of two girls from his Illinois home town in 2005. Law enforcement sources said he is the chief suspect in the killings of Laura Hobbs, 8, and her friend Krystal Tobias, 9. Torrez has not been charged in those slayings.

In the first day of Torrez's trial in Arlington County Circuit Court, prosecutors began to lay out the chilling crimes and links made by watchful officers that led to an arrest.

On Feb. 10, prosecutors said, Torrez tried to force a woman into his car at gunpoint on North Quincy Street in Arlington but she was able to escape.

Then, on Feb. 27, the 23-year-old woman and her friend were coming back from a late-night meal, the woman testified. As they neared the friend's home, a man stepped out from behind a car, demanded money and told them that he had a gun. The women gave up the little cash they had, but he forced them inside. The Washington Post does not generally identify victims of sexual assault.

The man tied their arms with the cord of a vacuum cleaner, the victim testified. When he asked whether anyone was home, they lied to protect a friend who was asleep upstairs.

The victim told jurors that the man then tied her arms with an iron cord, leaving the iron dangling. Grabbing her by the arm, he ushered her out of the house and forced her into his SUV, she said. He drove around, stopping to sexually assault her, she said. Then they drove again, she said, and again he stopped to assault her.

In the days before the crime, prosecutors said, two Arlington police officers had taken note of a Dodge Durango circling the streets. One officer ran the license plate, a detail that would help quickly develop Torrez as a suspect.

Torrez, who was living at Henderson Hall on Fort Myer, was arrested Feb. 27 as he walked toward his SUV. Inside it, prosecutors said, police found an iron, one of the woman's missing earrings and her student identification card.

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