Updated:COBB COUNTY, Ga. —
Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds announces that Tomas Lopez Torres Jr. was sentenced to life in prison late Friday after pleading guilty to multiple counts of armed robbery and aggravated assault, and an aggravated battery.
Torres’ 2012 crime spree nearly killed Doug Haddon, the owner of the Hock Shop pawn shop on Cobb Parkway at Gresham Road, just north of the Big Chicken. On the morning of April 14, 2012, Torres ambushed Haddon from behind and stabbed him twice, once across the abdomen and once in the hip. The knife cut 14 inches across his abdomen, and made a 6 to 8-inch gash in his hip. Both wounds were 6 inches deep.
Torres, now 20, pleaded guilty to the attack on Haddon, as well as armed robberies against seven people at two small shops and a convenience store in Marietta between Feb. 17 and May 7 of 2012. After the attack on Haddon, Torres continued to commit armed robberies.
Haddon, the stabbing victim, pointed out that Friday’s hearing came one year and 362 days since the attack. The married father of four is 59 and told the court wrenching details of his physical recovery and the effect of the attack on his entire family, his life and his business.
“I have to live with this grotesque scar on my abdomen and my hip every day,” he said.
Several other victims also testified about the terror they experienced when Torres pointed a gun in their face and robbed them.
“He came very, very close to a murder charge,” said senior ADA Ann Harris, in asking for the life sentence. “He had everything -- a family that loved him and raised him right. And this is what he chose to do in the community.”
After the stabbing, an off-duty Marietta police detective was shopping at Walmart and noticed that a knife for sale in the camping department was the same kind of knife used in the stabbing. As it turned out, Torres had purchased the knife there just days before the stabbing, and video of the purchase helped lead police to him.
Torres also testified during the hearing, saying that in the spring of his senior year at Wheeler High School he was hanging with the wrong crowd and was using marijuana and cocaine, and admitting he committed the robberies for money to buy the drugs.
Family, friends, and even a teacher from Wheeler testified that Torres was a smart, kind, dependable person, and begged for mercy.
Cobb Superior Court Judge Robert E. Flournoy III then sentenced Mr. Torres to life in prison with the possibility of parole for the armed robberies, and 20 years to be served concurrently on the aggravated assault and aggravated battery charges.
Torres was represented by attorney Kenneth Croy, of Marietta.