Man Changes Plea from Not Guilty to No Contest
BROWNSVILLE – The man charged in the death and disappearance of a 13-year-old Harlingen girl pleaded no contest in court today.
Ruben Torres is charged in connection to the death of Abigail Estrada who disappeared in 2007.
The judge said after hearing the evidence, she sentenced him to 18 years.
Torres' attorney originally reported to CHANNEL 5 NEWS her client pleaded guilty. Torres actually pleaded no contest.
He’s not admitting he was involved in the killing of Estrada but it’s a way to work out a deal with the state.
His attorney, Lily Gonzales, said they have always been not guilty, but they were given an offer of 18 years from the state. She said they pleaded no contest because there was enough evidence where a jury might be emotionally affected to find Torres guilty.
“He’s always told me he dropped her off at the stop sign and basically, she walked home. He does regret doing that. He said, ‘I wish I had taken her back to the front door and taken her home.’ He regrets that. He does not what happen to her,” Gonzales said.
Estrada’s body was never recovered, but she’s presumed dead.
Estrada’s aunt, Laura, was in court this morning. She’s been the most vocal since her niece went missing nearly 10 years ago.
She went before Torres, shedding tears and holding a picture of Estrada. She told him to tell them where her remains are so she can finally be laid to rest.
The sentenced the judge handed down include time Torres' already served, which is around 500 days.
We will continue to report the latest.
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