Crime

Fort Worth teen paroled in murder case is accused in second slaying

A Fort Worth teen who was paroled in August from a juvenile correctional facility after serving five years of a 30-year sentence for fatally shooting a 16-year-old girl in 2009 is behind bars again, accused in a second slaying.

Damien Ray Torres was 14 when he fired a gun at another car on Seminary Drive on Nov. 7, 2009, missing his intended target but shooting the driver’s 16-year-old girlfriend, Zuly Ledesma, in the head.

He was tried as a juvenile and sentenced to 30 years confinement.

Paroled upon turning 19 in August, Torres now stands accused of fatally shooting Ernesto Rodriguez outside a downtown Fort Worth club. Rodriguez was shot several times early Feb. 22 outside Club Vice, located within The Tower at 350 W. Fifth Street.

The shooting was initially handled by the gang unit but was later transferred to the homicide unit after Rodriguez’s death on March 2 at a Fort Worth hospital. Torres was arrested Tuesday and was being held Thursday in the Mansfield jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.

Homicide Sgt. Joe Loughman said bouncers were ushering people out of the bar around closing time after a large altercation occurred inside the club. A short time later, Rodriguez, who was standing outside the club, was shot multiple times.

Loughman declined to comment on how homicide Detectives J. Cedillo and E. Pate linked Torres to the fatal shooting. He said Torres was brought in for questioning following a traffic stop Tuesday and later arrested on a murder warrant.

In the 2009 murder, Ledesma and her 18-year-old boyfriend had just left the movies when a car pulled alongside theirs at a stoplight on Seminary Drive at the La Gran Plaza mall entrance.

According to a police report, occupants of the car shouted their gang affiliations at Ledesma’s boyfriend and pointed a gun at his car. The boyfriend ran the red light in an attempt to get away but Torres, seated in the car’s backseat, fired, striking Ledesma in the head.

She was pronounced dead the next morning.

Police said the boyfriend and the suspects had had previous altercations.

When Torres was sentenced for the Ledesma slaying, he was a teenager and was sent to a juvenile correctional facility. In Texas a youth is automatically paroled on his 19th birthday unless the Texas Juvenile Justice Department requests a hearing by a juvenile court judge to evaluate whether the youth should be transferred to adult prison to complete his sentence or be paroled.

It could not be determined Thursday whether such a hearing was held in Torres’s case before his parole. A Texas Juvenile Justice Department spokesman said Thursday he could not discuss a specific juvenile case.

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655

Twitter: @deannaboyd

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