Reading man wanted in wife's murder captured in Italy

March 15, 2013 8:02:12 PM PDT
A Reading man who spent years on the lam after allegedly killing his estranged wife was captured in Italy on Friday, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

Longtime fugitive Miguel Torres was arrested at his home in Bologna by Italian authorities, acting on information provided by the marshals.

Torres, 42, had been charged with first-degree murder for the fatal shooting of Barbara West-Torres in 2005. The 32-year-old bank teller was gunned down in a Reading parking lot after obtaining a protective order against her husband, authorities said.

Miguel Torres allegedly used a spare key to enter his wife's vehicle, hiding in the backseat until she left work. West-Torres saw her husband when she approached and tried to flee, but authorities said he pursued her and shot her in the head.

Torres allegedly fled the scene in his wife's car. He later switched to a rented van, which was recovered a year later at LaGuardia Airport, authorities said. Torres was named to the marshals' list of 15 most-wanted fugitives in 2011.

On the morning of the slaying, Miguel Torres had placed a large advertisement in the Reading Eagle with the couple's wedding portrait. The ad read: "Mike & Barbie Torres - Always & Forever. I love you."

West-Torres' sister, Jessica Lebron of West Reading, told the newspaper on Friday that the news has been "really hard."

"It's kind of like reliving it all over again," Lebron said. "We're happy he got caught, but we don't know much yet."

Years after her death, the victim's parents filed a wrongful-death lawsuit seeking damages from Miguel Torres in absentia. A Berks County jury awarded $46 million to Angel and Catherine Lebron in November 2010. It's unclear if they will ever collect it.

Torres had been living in Italy under the name Rene Rondon, according to the Marshals Service. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.