Jose Torres Tattoo

Jose Torres is an artist who is deeply into realism. His tattoos are very detailed and often include portraits of people. He also does other kinds of work, including painting and sculptures. He has many works in his portfolio and you can view them on his website. His website is easy to navigate and has all the information you need about his work.

During the trial, the evidence established that appellants/codefendants Jose Alexander Torres (Jose), his brother Willie Wildmer Torres (Willie), and Lawrence Mejia (Lawrence) committed a series of armed robberies at convenience stores in Stanislaus County. The robberies were committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang, the Nortenos. The jury found that Jose and Willie acted as armed robbers while Lawrence acted as the getaway driver for the final charged offense.

The evidence also established that Willie was involved in three of the robberies and was an accomplice to Jose in four others. The robberies took place at stores in Modesto, Turlock, and Stockton. Police officers and other witnesses identified the suspects, who were wearing identical clothing, as Jose and Willie.

On September 2, 2004, Modesto Police Officer Ivan Valencia observed Jose, Victor Montoya, and Michael Gratton sitting on a bench at Mellis Park, an area known to have Norteno gang activity. Gratton and Montoya both admitted being active Nortenos. Valencia had contact with Jose in the past and he believed that Jose was still a Norteno based on his tattoos, clothing, and association with Gratton and Montoya.

The next day, Maria Santana gave a man who had entered her home a ride in her van. The man told her he had just robbed the Needham Liquor Store and was running away from the police. She did not recognize him in a photographic lineup but she recognized his bumble bee tattoo on the side of his neck and was able to identify him at the preliminary hearing and trial.

Detective Brocchini also testified that the suspects  were wearing similar clothing in all of the robberies. Maria’s brother could not identify the man from a photographic lineup but recognized him based on his hat and clothing from a surveillance videotape of the Standiford AM/PM robbery.

During the trial, defense counsel argued that the identifications by the witnesses were not reliable. He pointed out that all of the witnesses were Latinos and may have been biased against illegal immigrants, and that their identifications could have been influenced by the fact that they had all been exposed to a lot of media coverage about the robberies. He also argued that the witness statements were insufficient to prove that Jose and Lawrence were the same person. The court rejected this argument. It ruled that the testimony of the witnesses was sufficient to convict Jose and Lawrence on all counts. The court also convicted Willie and found that he participated in the robbery as an accomplice to Jose and Lawrence. The court affirmed the convictions and a sentence of five years in prison.