Lancaster man convicted of 1st-degree murder in 2017 ‘execution’-style shooting

LANCASTER — A 25-year-old Lancaster man is facing a mandatory life sentence in prison after he was convicted Thursday of committing an “execution”-style murder in 2017.

A Lancaster County jury convicted Raymond Torres of first-degree murder, determining he fatally shot 22-year-old Austin Peters on Dec. 10, 2017.

Torres shot Peters three times on the 700 block of First Street, according to First Assistant District Attorney Christopher P. Larsen, who presented evidence at the four-day trial.

Torres will be sentenced by Lancaster County Judge Merrill Spahn Jr. on Dec. 27.

Among the evidence submitted at trial was surveillance video footage of Torres and Peters walking in the area of First Street – the one man determined to be Torres, with a gun – just minutes before Peters was shot.

Larsen told the jury Torres killed Peters execution-style, shooting him at close range, first from behind and just below an ear, then twice more as Peters laid on his back on the sidewalk. There were no defensive wounds, which indicated Peters had no idea he was about to be shot.

Each of the three shots were fatal, Larsen presented to the jury.

The jury deliberated about an hour over lunch break before deciding the case Thursday about 1 p.m.

Among the evidence were numerous surveillance-video clips that showed Torres and Peters walking, together, around the city for about an hour.

In one clip, Torres is seen firing a gun multiple times into the air. Shell casings – of 9 mm-caliber Luger and Blazer brands – found at that location were also the same caliber and brands found at the homicide scene.

Another video clip showed Torres racking the slide on a pistol about two blocks from the homicide scene. Torres and Peters are close together in all the video footage.

Larsen also pointed out that Torres lied to police about his whereabouts prior to the homicide.

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