By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico
Fugitive Noe Torres admits he was in the company of convicted child-killer Edward Salas the day 10-year-old Carlos Perez was shot. He denies being anywhere near the scene of the killing.
The 29-year-old homicide suspect called a Clovis News Journal reporter Wednesday morning — the second time in the last two weeks.
Torres carried on a near hour-long conversation about the case against him, making allegations of corruption against prosecutors and talking about being on the run.
Initially, Torres denied being with Edward Salas the day of the shooting but then admitted he gave the 24-year-old a ride and spent time with him that afternoon.
But Torres said he sent his girlfriend to drive Salas home in the evening and never saw him again.
Police have said the shooting happened after 2 a.m., when four men stood outside the bedroom window where Perez was sleeping and shot nine rounds through the glass.
The child was struck once in the head and died the following afternoon.
During Salas’ trial for first-degree murder, three females testified Torres was there during the shooting.
Salas, who was sentenced to life in prison, escaped from the Curry County Adult Detention Center on Aug. 24 and remains at large.
Calling the witnesses “lying, drug-addicted females,” Torres said Wednesday the girls, two of whom were teens at the time, lied to protect themselves from prosecution for their roles in the case.
He also said he has witnesses who can provide him an alibi for his whereabouts that night. But Torres said he doesn’t intend to turn himself in to face charges against him.
“I am innocent and I really don’t see any sense in turning myself in to wait (for trial) … They’re (investigators) corrupt, the whole system is corrupt,” he said.
“I have no intentions of (negotiating) my surrender to these men. It’s not fair that the DA has twisted my words. I was just being straight forward with him.”
On Dec. 19, Torres left a three-minute message on a CNJ voice mailbox professing his innocence and alleging corruption by investigators.
Torres said his purpose for contacting the CNJ was to prompt an investigation into the civil rights violations he said were committed against him by investigators, who have hunted him for three years since the shooting.
Torres also talked of the root of his mistrust for law enforcement, referencing a 1998 case in which he was a shooting victim and a friend of his was killed.
Torres said investigators and then-District Attorney Brett Carter tried to get him to give eyewitness testimony even though he told investigators he didn’t see his assailant and wouldn’t say he had.
The experience led him to mistrust law enforcement, Torres said.
Carter could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.
The CNJ played Wednesday’s recorded interview for Dan Aguilar, an investigator for the District Attorney’s office, to give him an opportunity to respond to allegations made by Torres.
Aguilar said he was not a detective at the time and was not involved in the 1998 conversation referenced by Torres and couldn’t speak to it.
In the background on the recording, the voices of young children can be heard, something investigators have noted in at least two other calls, Aguilar said.
Additionally Torres mentioned in the recording it was cold where he was and asked if it was cold in Clovis.
He also said he was living in a supportive community where he didn’t have to hide his identity and that he could “mow lawns” for money, but wasn’t employable because use of his social security number might trigger his capture.
The latest information on Torres’ whereabouts indicated he was in Friona around Thanksgiving, Aguilar said Tuesday.
In the past three years, police have tracked his movements to locations throughout eastern New Mexico, West Texas and Mexico, he said.
Aguilar said Tuesday he believed Torres is playing games through the media to attain more notoriety.
Aguilar said there was nothing new revealed Wednesday by Torres’ statements.
Noe Torres is 5-feet-4 inches and weighs 150 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes, and has a large eagle tattooed on his chest that nearly spans from shoulder to shoulder.
Police believe he may have shaved his hair and is disguising his tattoos to escape notice.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Torres can contact Curry County Crime Stoppers at 763-7000.
Torres is considered armed and dangerous. All callers remain confidential and Curry County Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.