Friday, April 16, 2004

Lubbock, Texas

From of April 9, 2004:

Homeless woman awaits ruling in shooting death

Every month, a frail, elderly woman paid her $70 for the tiny concrete closet she rented at a local storage facility. Inside the 5-foot by 10-foot unit, she kept clothing, a shopping cart and often herself and a beloved dog, police say.

Those regular payments and the wording of her lease may now protect the 80-year-old homeless woman from murder charges, according to state law.

The woman is accused of fatally shooting Lino Torres, 45, as he apparently tried to break into the storage unit where she was sleeping early Wednesday morning.

Torres was on parole for burglary of a building. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1988 and to a 10-day jail sentence for unlawfully carrying a club the following year, court records show.

He was found lying face down in front of the woman's storage unit, wearing a ski mask and gloves. A crowbar also was found nearby, police said.

The case is under investigation, Sgt. Tony Gribben said Thursday. It will eventually be presented to a grand jury, which will determine whether the woman should face criminal charges.

Followup from of May 26, 2004

Grand jury clears woman in shooting

A Lubbock grand jury declined Tuesday to indict an 80-year-old woman accused of killing a man who apparently tried to break into a storage unit that doubled as her home.

Fay S. Ralston was cleared on all charges connected to the April 7 fatal shooting of Lino Torres, 45, outside a storage unit at 408 Ave. T.


State law allows people to defend their homes with deadly force. Police said they believe Ralston did not know she was firing at officers when she shot from inside the storage unit.

Ralston was later turned over to the care of Adult Protective Services.

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