'Cold case' murder suspect ordered held
A former Hawaii man suspected in the unsolved 1992 killing of a Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange cashier has been ordered held without bail.
Circuit Court Judge Derrick Chan ruled yesterday that Jenaro Torres, 57, posed a danger to potential witnesses in the case and that there were no conditions he could impose to assure his appearances in court.
Duane Young, special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Services, told the court that Torres had previously made statements implicating himself in the May 1992 disappearance of Ruben Gallegos to his ex-wife and a former co-worker and threatened to harm them if they told anyone.
While the threats were made in 1997, the witnesses are concerned for their safety, said Deputy Attorney General Susan Won. The co-worker has not seen Torres since, but she still works at the same company.
An Oahu grand jury indicted Torres on Dec. 6 for second-degree murder after the Navy criminal investigators found additional witnesses and worked with the state attorney general's Cold Case Unit to bring the case to prosecution. Authorities located him in Las Vegas on Dec. 27, and he was returned to Hawaii last month.
Torres was arrested at the fitness center at Nellis Air Force Base where he has privileges as a U.S. Air Force retiree. His car was parked outside filled with household items.
At the time of his arrest, Torres was unemployed and had no permanent address, Young said. An address he gave authorities belonged to a residence in California that belonged to his ex-wife where he had stayed for a week last year.
Gallegos, 19, had been assigned $80,000 to cash sailors' paychecks and had just opened for business on May 1, 1992, when he was last seen leaving the Navy Exchange accompanied by Torres, a Department of Defense police officer.
When Torres tried to enter the base six hours later, military police found in his car a recently fired handgun, his uniform, an electric stun gun and a bag with Gallegos' wallet, hairbrush and cashier cage key inside. All but $2,000 of the missing money was in the trunk. Gallegos' body has never been found.
Without a body, federal prosecutors could only charge him with theft and firearms violations for which he served a two-year sentence.
Trial for Torres is set for April 3 before Circuit Court Judge Michael Town.