MMA fighter who killed intruder, injured another may face charges

Jan. 7, 2014 at 11:07 AM

LAS CRUCES, N.M., Jan. 7 (UPI) -- A mixed martial arts fighter who killed an intruder who broke into his home in New Mexico could face charges in the man's death, the fighter's attorney says.

Las Cruces attorney C.J. McElhinney said in a post on Facebook he had advised his client Joseph Torrez to prepare for "a very long fight," the Las Cruces Sun-News reported Monday.

Court documents indicate Torrez, 27, a construction worker and mixed martial arts fighter, fought with four men who broke into his home in the community of Dona Ana early New Year's Day.

One of the alleged intruders, Sal Garces, 25, was beaten, stabbed and died at the scene. Another suspect, Nathan M. Avalos, 20, was hospitalized with facial injuries.

Avalos has been released from the hospital and has not been charged.

Torrez, who suffered only minor injuries, has not been charged in Garces' death.

McElhinney said investigators with the Dona Ana sheriff's office had initially considered the incident a self-defense. However, since Torrez has not yet been cleared, the attorney said he had advised Torrez to stop talking with law enforcement.

New Mexico law says a person has the right to self-defense and does not have to retreat. However, a person is allowed to use "no more force than is reasonably necessary to avoid the threatened harm."

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