Man pleads not guilty to abducting and killing Moreno Valley teen
The Long Beach man charged with abducting and killing Moreno Valley high school student Norma Lopez in the summer of 2010 pleaded not guilty in Riverside County Superior Court on Wednesday morning, court records show.
Jesse Perez Torres, 35, is charged with one count of murder with special circumstance of kidnapping. He will be eligible for the death penalty. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 6.
Investigators linked Torres to one of the crime scenes by DNA evidence, according to the Riverside County district attorney’s office.
At the time of the killing, Torres lived in a suburban home across the street from the high school, close enough to see Lopez, 17, walking off campus. Torres moved to Long Beach in August 2010.
Lopez was abducted in broad daylight on July 15, 2010, as she walked across a vacant lot after attending a summer school biology class at Valley View High School. Her body was found five days later near a remote wheat field on the eastern edge of Moreno Valley.
Photos, from left: Norma Lopez (credit: Associated Press); Jesse Perez Torres (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)