In a court hearing on Tuesday, Carlos Travon Torres changed his plea from not guilty to no contest to the murder of 39-year-old Elizabeth Crawford, who was found fatally stabbed multiple times in a motel in Winnemucca in March 2018. The jury trial for the case scheduled to start the following day was vacated following the change of plea, and sentencing for Torres is scheduled for Friday, September 20 at 9 a.m.
The plea which Torres, age 27, entered is second-degree murder with the use of a deadly weapon, a category A felony. Torres was originally charged with open murder, meaning if convicted of murder in a jury trial, the jury would determine whether he was guilty of first or second-degree murder, both category A felonies. If not convicted of murder in a jury trial, the jury would have the option to deem him guilty of either voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.
According to NRS 200.030, the penalty imposed for second-degree murder by a court shall be either life in prison with the possibility of parole after 10 years or 25 years in prison with the possibility of parole after 10 years, both without the eligibility of a suspended sentence or probation.
In accordance with NRS 193.165, Torres will also be given a sentence of 1-20 years in prison to be determined by the court as an additional penalty for the use of a deadly weapon, with the additional sentence to be served consecutive to (immediately after) the murder sentence.
Torres verbally verified his signature on the plea agreement to the court as his own, signed the morning of the hearing and Deputy District Attorney Richard Haas confirmed that the state believes the plea to be an appropriate resolution to the matter.
According to plea negotiations, the state agreed to dismiss other charges against Torres in the case including felony charges of possession of a controlled substance for sale, possession of a controlled substance and three counts attempted escape by a prisoner (two felonies and one gross misdemeanor).
The judge explained that by Torres pleading no contest to the crime, he does not admit or deny the crime, but acknowledges that there is sufficient evidence to prove his guilt without a reasonable doubt. A no-contest plea is treated the same as a guilty plea for all criminal purposes of sentencing.
As a convicted felon, Torres was informed by the court that he will not be able to legally purchase a firearm or ammunition in the future.
The court ordered a pre-sentencing investigation report to be conducted prior to the sentencing hearing to be used as a resource for the court’s sentence determination. The pre-sentencing investigation report will provide additional information and life history about Torres.