FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – In early October, Cid Torrez was expected to learn his sentence for murdering his wife Vilet, whose body has never been found. Torres faces up to life in prison. But during the hearing, Torrez made some bizarre statements.
“Commander-in-Chief, the witch hunt ends here,” Torrez said from the witness stand.
After those comments, the hearing was put on hold. Since then the attorney for Torrez, who Torrez recently fired, raised questions about Torrez’s competency, even saying that Torrez might not have been competent to stand trial back in July when a jury found him guilty of murdering his wife and the mother of his three children. Questioning the sanity of a convicted defendant a few months after trial is an unusual move, says legal analyst Eric Schwartzreich, who is a defense attorney and not affiliated with the Torrez case.
“It will be difficult to go back and try and say well, even if he’s incompetent now, how do we know — the million dollar question — is was he competent at the trial,” Schwartzreich said. “Because even if someone is competent today, and not competent tomorrow.”
As the question of Torrez’s competency continues, Broward County prosecutors recently placed into evidence a series of recorded phone calls that Torrez made from jail during his trial and in the weeks leading to the trial. The calls appear to provide a snapshot of Torrez’s life and mental state at that time.
In one call, Torrez told a family member, “I don’t have any grudge against the detective or the lawyers or my own attorney, anything. It’s God’s will.”
He also spoke about mundane things: “All of the clothing that’s in the house, just give it away.”
In the calls — which are mostly in Spanish — Torrez talks about religion.
“I’m in the hands of God,” Torrez said. “He’s the only one. Nobody else.”
He talks a bit about his trial, like the clothes he’s going to wear, the process of the court case and jury selection.
I thinks they’re going to finish tomorrow, soon,” he said at one point.
He also spoke of being a bit sad — “Yesterday, I was a little bit nervous, a little sad.”
He also mentioned his gratitude for his family.
“Thank you for you being my friend, my companion, my counsel, for everything,” he said.
During the hours of calls that were released, the conversations appear to be normal. Torrez’s former defense attorney argued in a court motion that Torrez experienced auditory hallucinations back in March. However, there were no competency concerns raised prior to trial.
Legal analyst Schwartreich says the state likely has a clear purpose for requesting Torrez’s recorded jail phone calls.
“The state wants to be able to demonstrate that Mr. Torrez was competent during the trial so they’re going to go back and they’re going to release these jail calls and examine and you can bet your bottom dollar that they’re going to listen to every one of them and present them to the court,” Schwartzreich said.
Torrez is due back in court later this month for an update on the sentencing.
CBS4 News reached out to prosecutors Tuesday about the audio recordings and how they plan to use them, but we did not get a response prior to air.
CBS4 News also spoke with the brother of Vilet Torrez. He said he did not feel it was appropriate at this point in the case to talk about these issues. But he did say the family wants to see Cid Torrez spend the rest of his life in prison.