LEBANON, Pa. — A Lebanon County jury convicted a man of two counts of first-degree murder and several other charges on June 26 after a week-long trial, District Attorney Pier Hess Graf, who tried the case for the state, announced Monday.
Gilberto Torres Reyes was found guilty of shooting two victims to death after robbing a bank in Berks County on April 9, 2018, according to testimony at trial. He had paid his victims to help his flight from the bank robbery.
Reyes shot both victims in the back, and also shot his second victim in the face, according to Graf.
A witness placed all three men in a car together; the same witness indicated Torres smoked crack cocaine and used other drugs prior to killing the victims, Graf said..
The car entered the Pennsylvania Turnpike and exited at the Lebanon-Lancaster Exit (Route 72). According to testimony, other drivers followed the vehicle as it drove north on Route 72. Gun shots ensued, the car crashed, and all three men fled the car, Graf said.
Both victims sustained fatal gunshot wounds inside the vehicle and collapsed on the roadway, according to evidence presented at trial.
Witnesses saw Torres flee the scene and try to carjack a passing motorist, Graf said. He ultimately escaped the immediate area, according to testimony.
Police located Reyes in a hospital, where he checked in under a fake name. Upon arrest, Reyes denied any involvement with the murders. He maintained a total lack of involvement when interviewed a second time, according to Graf.
“Our victims died alone, on an asphalt roadway," Graf said in a press release announcing Torres' conviction. "Each man choked on his own blood. Each victim gasped for air, desperate to live. As each second passed, the victims knew their lives would soon end at the hands of the Defendant."
This trial was likely the first major trial throughout the Commonwealth since COVID struck, Graf said. The Commonwealth worked with the Court and took every possible safety precaution to protect both its witnesses and the jury, according to Graf.
“I want to thank the jury for its service during the trial," Graf said. "Evil thrives in this world when good men and women fail to act if given the chance.The trial and the jury’s verdict proves our community cares deeply for justice."