ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A professional mixed martial artist who deputies said killed a man suspected of breaking into his home is no longer cooperating with authorities in the case, his attorney said Monday.
C.J. McElhinney told The Associated Press that Joseph Torrez is at the “beginning of a very long fight” and he fears the 27-year-old still may face charges even though he was protecting his family and home during the violent home invasion last week.
According to Dona Ana County sheriff’s officials, Sal Garces, 25, died Jan. 1 from stab wounds after he and three other men broke into Torrez’s mobile home north of Las Cruces.
Torrez, his fiancee and a toddler were home at the time, deputies said. One of the men had threatened Torrez and his family in a phone call before the break-in, authorities said.
McElhinney said Torrez fought off the intruders, killing one and injuring another with “serious facial injuries.” He said one man attacked Torrez with a handmade shank and another grabbed a kitchen knife.
Torrez gave statements to deputies and has since moved from the area for his family’s safety, McElhinney said.
“Our cooperation has ended after it became clear that it looked like authorities were keying in on my client and not those involved in the break-in,” McElhinney said.
The sheriff’s office and prosecutors planned to hold a news conference Tuesday to discuss the status of the investigation.
Leonard Calvillo, 22, and Raymond Garces, 19, the brother of the man who was killed, are facing aggravated burglary and aggravated battery charges, court records show.
Nathan Avalos, 20, was taken to an El Paso hospital and authorities say they plan on charging him when he is released.
It was not known if any of the three men had attorneys.
According to Tapology.com, Torrez is a lightweight fighter with a 1-5 professional record. He was knocked out in his last fight, a July 2013 bout against Rodrigo Sotelo in El Paso, Texas.
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