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Torres accepts guilty plea agreement

Updated May 4, 2021 - 3:35 pm

The Pahrump man arrested and charged with open murder has accepted a guilty plea agreement from Nye County prosecutors.

Marco Torres, 57, is facing a potential life sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the 2020 strangulation slaying of his life-long friend, Joseph Piper.

The crime occurred on April 4 of last year, according to investigators.

As stated in a news release from Nye County District Attorney Christ Arabia, Torres entered his plea in front of Nye County District Court Judge Kimberly Wanker during a hearing on April 29, 2021.

“Under the terms of the negotiation, the District Attorney’s Office will be able to ask the court to impose a sentence of lifetime imprisonment, with the possibility of parole after 10 years,” Arabia’s release stated. “This was a brutal, senseless crime and our hearts go out to the victim, Mr. Piper, and his family and friends. We set out to get serious justice for Mr. Piper and this deal has done that.”

Cancer-stricken victim

According to evidence presented at the preliminary hearing, Torres was the caregiver to Mr. Piper, who was said to be suffering from throat cancer.

“During an argument, Mr. Piper attempted to call a neighbor and a relative,” Arabia’s release noted. “Mr. Piper was on the phone with 911 when Mr. Torres broke into his room and told the police the call was a false alarm and disconnected the phone call. When police arrived to investigate the 911 hang-up, Torres identified himself as “Bozo the Clown.”

Once deputies knocked on the door, Torres told them to leave the property.

As deputies eventually forced their way into the residence, they soon discovered Piper’s body, who reportedly sustained visible injuries to his head and face.

He was located in a bedroom of the home.

“Torres told detectives that he and his roommate had begun arguing over a bag of marijuana that his roommate spilled on the floor,” according to court documents. “They began to physically fight and Torres’ roommate retreated to the back bedroom to call dispatch. Torres became agitated that his roommate was calling for help, and smashed his phone to the ground.”

Admitting guilt

The prosecution also noted that Mr. Torres’ own admissions after the killing, left little room for doubt, stating, “After hearing what the defendant himself said, it is clear that this is a murder.”

As a previous two-time convicted felon, Torres in the guilty plea agreement, stated that he understood that he could be sentenced from five to 20 years in prison.

A third felony conviction means he could face a sentence of 10 to 25 years.

During the course of Torres’ court hearings, prosecutors stressed the physical advantage that Torres had over the cancer-stricken Piper, telling the court, “This was a completely lopsided battle. There was one attacker and one victim.”

Judge Wanker is scheduled to sentence Torres on June 25, 2021 at 9 a.m. in Department 1.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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