Fugitive gets assaulted while in custody

Hours after he was transported to the Curry County jail Thursday, former international fugitive and accused killer Noe Torres was attacked by the uncle of the child he is charged with helping slay.

Undersheriff Wesley Waller confirmed jail staff placed Torres in a holding cell near one occupied by Richard Silva, the uncle of 10-year-old Carlos Perez, who was gunned down in his sleep in 2005.

Waller said Torres wasn't seriously injured in the fight and Silva is expected to be charged with battery.

Waller said the assault happened about 5:20 p.m. while Torres was secured to a bench in the holding area of the jail.

Noe Torres

International fugitive and accused killer

Jail Administrator Gerry Billy said Torres was secured to the bench while his cell was being cleaned.

According to Waller, Silva, who was in a nearby detox holding cell, asked jail staff if he could use the bathroom. As Silva was passing Torres, Waller said, he began repeatedly punching Torres.

Detention officers pulled Silva off Torres, who was treated for minor injuries by jail medical staff, Waller said.

Waller said Torres was transferred from a state facility near Hobbs earlier in the afternoon for hearings Monday before Chief District Court Judge Ted L. Hartley. By law, according to Waller and District Attorney Matt Chandler, Torres is entitled to be present for his hearings and must be in the county at least 24-business hours before the hearing to allow time to confer with his attorney.

Torres has been held out of the county since his capture earlier this year at the request of Chandler, who argued that Curry County's troubled jail and staff were incapable of handling the longtime international fugitive.

Billy said he was not aware of any relationship between Torres and Silva. He also said there was no order or request to keep the two men separate.

Billy said the jail is in the process of changing its computer systems so such information would automatically post a caution on an inmate's file upon admission if there was such a relationship. But, Billy said, the system is not capable of doing it yet.

Billy also said the jail had nowhere else to place Torres because the facility is at capacity.

"Once again," Billy said,"it just clearly points to the problems that exist at the Curry County Adult Detention Center structurally."

Billy said a toilet that had been repaired earlier in Torres' holding cell had overflowed again and staff was mopping up the water when Torres was attacked.

Torres was the target of a six-year international manhunt that ended with his arrest Jan. 25 near a religious compound in Chihuahua, Mexico. He is charged with the murder of Carlos Perez, who was shot in the head as he lay sleeping in a bedroom shared with his brother.

Police say the shooting was retaliation for an argument that took place hours earlier between Clovis High School students Orlando Salas and Carlos' brother, Ruben Perez.

Torres is accused, along with three since-convicted accomplices, of firing nine bullets into a Clovis apartment window.

Torres says he is innocent of the charges.

It is the second fight in recent months to erupt inside the troubled jail over the Perez family tragedy.

On June 27, accused killer and jail inmate Louis Guerra attacked and repeatedly beat Jaime Perez when jail staff placed the two men in adjacent cells of the same pod despite pleas from the Perez family and a request from Chandler to keep the two men separate.

Perez was a key witness in Guerra's murder trial and subsequent conviction for gunning down his brother, Daniel Perez. Their younger brother was Carlos Perez.

Jaime Perez later filed a notice of lawsuit against the county for injuries suffered in the fight and failure to protect him while in custody.

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