Torre Guilty of Murder, Prosecution Won't Seek Death Penalty

By Josh Gross Aug 18, 2005
Rafiel Torre was convicted in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.'s West Valley Superior Court Thursday for the December 2001 murder of Bryan Richards, the husband of Torre's former mistress.

The 11-woman, 1-man jury, which began deliberations on the case Monday, also ruled Torre's killing of Richards was made for financial gain — Richards had a $1 million life insurance policy — leaving open the possibility that Torre could receive the death penalty. The prosecution, however, has decided against pursuing this option. Instead, he will likely be sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.*

Covered by trash bags and wheeled dollies, Richards was found in the bed of his pick-up truck parked in a local supermarket parking lot. He was murdered by what prosecutors described as a "lion killer" choke (in MMA vernacular a "rear-naked” choke).

Torre, 40, trained and taught Brazilian jiu-jitsu under the guise of being a black belt in the grappling sport, but later admitted that his credentials were inflated. He fought just once, a dubious February 2001 submission victory in King of the Cage versus Ioka Tianuu.

While testifying, Torre — known in mixed martial arts circles as a part-time reporter, personality, broadcaster and fighter — alleged that his girlfriend, Angelina Richards, was in fact responsible for her 32-year-old husband's death, but that at her behest he aided in covering up the murder.

"That was her idea, not mine," Torre testified.

The jury, however, did not believe Torre's claim and handed down its ruling this afternoon.

*It was initially reported that the death penalty would be a possibility for Torre. The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin’s Rod Leveque informed late Thursday that the prosecution had taken it off the table.

Information from the Daily Bulletin was used for this report
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