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District Attorney

Posted on: December 28, 2018

Killer Gets Life Sentence but Offers Survivors No Reason for Shooting on Lancaster Street

RaymondTorres

A Lancaster man will spend the rest of his life behind bars for the execution-style murder of a man last year.

Raymond Torres provided no reason in court Thursday for why he shot 22-year-old Austin Peters on a Lancaster city street on Dec. 10, 2017.

Lancaster County Judge Merrill Spahn Jr. ordered the life sentence - plus an additional, 3-½ -to-7-year term for illegal possession of a gun - a week after a local jury convicted Torres of first-degree murder.

Peters’ mother and sister appeared in court Thursday presenting a written statement to First Assistant District Attorney Christopher P. Larsen, in which they lament not knowing why Peters was killed.

Larsen reiterated that a reason or motive for the killing was never provided, that only Torres knows why he did what he did.

Torres, 26, opted to say nothing in court.

Judge Spahn said he ordered the consecutive term for the gun charge because the gun was used in a “cold, calculated murder” and that Torres has shown an absolute lack of remorse.

Torres shot Peters at close range, first from behind and just below an ear, then twice more as Peters laid on his back on the sidewalk in the 700 block of First Street. 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 on Dec. 20 before deciding the case.

In the letter, Peters’ survivors described him as a man who was always in good cheer and would light up a room.

When nephews and nieces ask about Austin, they are told he is in heaven, the women wrote in their letter.

Lancaster city police Detective Sgt. Nathan Nickel filed charges.

MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; bhambright@co.lancaster.pa.us; Twitter: @BrettHambright

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