Missing killer back in custody

April 20, 2010 4:42:30 PM PDT
A registered sex offender who slipped out of the courthouse during his sentencing on a manslaughter charge is now back in official custody. Victor Torkizadeh, 27, was supposed to appear at the Fort Bend County courthouse for the punishment hearing in his murder trial Tuesday morning. His family was there, but Torkizadeh, who a jury convicted on a lesser charge of manslaughter Monday, was nowhere to be found.

Don Hecker, his attorney, talked to him on his cell phone.

"I was able to tell him there's not one good reason to not stay," said Hecker.

"What did he say?" we asked.

"He said he would take it under advisement and then he didn't show."

Instead of sticking around for sentencing, Torkizadeh, who was free on a $10,000 bond, fled the courthouse right after the jury came back with its verdict.

"There's evidence that he did change clothes," said Ft. Bend County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Craig Brady. "There was a shirt found in a stairwell by a court reporter. One of the bailiffs recognized it as a shirt that this gentleman had in his possession at one point."

While defendants on trial for murder are typically ordered into custody once they're convicted, Torkizadeh's bond was never revoked. Judge Brady Elliot, who is supposed to make that call, told us he would tell us why after the trial was over.

"Punishment goes on and I'm having to sit there at counsel table and convince a jury to be lenient when he is not there," said Hecker.

Torkizadeh was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2007 death of his close friend and cousin, Johnny Perez. Torkizadeh ran over Perez with a car in Stafford after the two got into a fight. At issue is a dispute over $60.

The punishment phase did go on without Torkizadeh, and jurors sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

Torkizadeh is a registered sex offender and has a tattoo on his back, which reads, "Only God can judge me." He was convicted in 1999 of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old and was sentenced to 20 months in prison.

Torkizadeh was found along Highway 290 in the Tidwell area and taken into custody shortly before 6pm. He will now likely face an additional charge of bond jumping.


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