Mistaken identity in high-profile murder case - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Mistaken identity in high-profile murder case

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It's a case that didn't need any more media attention: a police officer accused of killing another police officer, but then accused by an investigator from the Office of the Attorney General of violating the conditions of pre-trial release. But less than 24 hours later after documents were filed in the Superior Court of Guam, those allegations turned out to be unfounded.

This story will have you taking a double-take. Over the weekend, a man who bears a strong resemblance to Mark Torre, Jr. was spotted out and about. That man has been identified as Michael Rozborski, who recently returned from deployment, and since his return has had several people mistaken him for Torre.

Upon hearing news reports that Torre allegedly violated his pre-trial conditions, Rozborski called the Attorney General's Office himself to clear the air. Torre was arrested last month for the shooting death of fellow Guam Police Department officer Elbert "Bert" Piolo. Torre wouldn't be behind bars for long, however, as the court released him on reduced bail to house arrest with third-party custodians.

A mistake of identity has the Attorney General's Office withdrawing a motion they filed late Monday afternoon. The motion was to revoke the pre-trial release conditions for Torre, who faces murder charges.

The motion was prompted after investigator Bryan Cruz at the Attorney General's Office reportedly observed Torre at Andersen Air Force Base on Sunday, August 9, apparently waiting to get a haircut. According to court documents, Cruz reported none of Torre's third-party custodians were by his side.

According to Cruz's declaration, "I briefly greeted officer Torre, Jr., with a handshake and asked him, 'How are you doing?" I did not receive a reply." In response to the motion for an ex-parte hearing, Torre's legal counsel, Attorney Jay Arriola, filed an opposition Tuesday morning.

According to Arriola's filing, it was a case of mistaken identity and his client denies violating his pre-trial conditions. In support of this, Torre's wife also filed a declaration stating they were at home at the time of the alleged sighting. Julia Torre adds, "For more than a year now, Marky shaves his own hair with his clipper at our home, once a week, and does not go to a barber."

As of Tuesday early afternoon, the AG's Office admitted to the mistake in a release, stating, "The Office of the Attorney General takes pre-trial release violations very seriously. The charges against Mark Torre, Jr. in CF421-15 warranted immediate action to ensure the safety of the community at large. The OAG today confirmed that defendant Mark Torre, Jr. has not, in fact, violated the conditions of his pre-trial release. The OAG is going to withdraw its motion to revoke."

According to court documents, Torre's lookalike, Rozborski called the AG's Office early this morning clarifying that Rozborski was the man seen at Andersen Air Force Base getting a haircut over the weekend and that he worked with investigator Bryan Cruz in the Air Force Reserves. They shook hands and upon hearing news reports early today, realized Cruz may have mistaken him for Torre.

In a statement to KUAM News, defense attorney Arriola heeds warning to the investigator who made the mistake, stating, "The AG's investigator III, who filed his declaration under penalty of perjury, should exercise greater discretion and investigate his claims prior to requesting warrants of arrest for bail violations based merely on speculation and innuendo."

KUAM News contacted Torre's lookalike via telephone. He declined to comment on the issue.  

Torre in the meantime pleaded not guilty to murder, manslaughter, and aggravated assault charges. His next court appearance is a criminal trial setting scheduled for next week Thursday, August 20.

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