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He was acquitted of assaulting his girlfriend. He killed her a week later, police say.

William Torres, 61, is heading to county court after a brief preliminary hearing Tuesday.

William Torres is escorted out of district court in Willow Grove on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. Torres, 61, is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, Jeanne Edwards.
William Torres is escorted out of district court in Willow Grove on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. Torres, 61, is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, Jeanne Edwards.Read moreVinny Vella / Staff (custom credit)

A Maryland man who prosecutors say killed his former girlfriend in Montgomery County appeared for a preliminary hearing Tuesday and is scheduled to face a county judge on murder charges.

William Torres, 61, is charged with first- and third-degree murder in the death of Jeanne Edwards, a 58-year-old education consultant, whose violent slaying Nov. 25 shocked and saddened her neighbors in Lower Moreland Township.

Torres also has been charged with reckless endangerment, possession of a weapon, and simple assault. He remains in custody, denied bail.

Investigators say Torres traveled to Edwards’ house on Dale Road armed with a shotgun he bought hours earlier. He killed her inside the home, then pointed the weapon at her son, Alex, who arrived shortly afterward, according to court documents.

The younger man told police that Torres offered no explanation for the shooting, saying only that Edwards had “ruined his life.” Torres then fled to the home of his current girlfriend in Limerick, police said.

Sgt. John Pasqueal, one of the first officers to arrive at the scene, testified Tuesday that he found Edwards in the living room, shot in her chest and abdomen. A shotgun shell was found nearby.

Alex Edwards helped lead county detectives to Torres, who surrendered to police at the encouragement of his girlfriend. He told investigators he had driven an hour and a half from his home in Elkton, Md., to Edwards’ house with the weapon.

During his confession, Torres told detectives he had been thinking of harming himself during the drive to Pennsylvania, Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office Detective Greg Henry said Tuesday.

Word of that mental state led Torres’ attorney, Carrie Allman, to argue that the first-degree-murder charge should be dropped. But Assistant District Attorney Brianna Ringwood said Torres’ actions supported all of the charges.

“You have a defendant who traveled all the way from his house to the victim’s carrying a shotgun,” Ringwood said. “That makes out a specific intent to kill.”

A week before Torres made that drive north, the couple’s relationship woes were aired in a Maryland courtroom. After a hearing, Torres was found not guilty of assaulting Edwards during a heated argument.

That verdict came after Edwards recanted statements to police, saying she was equally aggressive to her former boyfriend, according to prosecutors in Cecil County.

Police were called to Torres’ home in Elkton in September, according to the affidavit of probable cause for his arrest. Edwards told officers that she and Torres had argued and that he had refused to let her leave for a planned flight.

At one point, Torres pulled Edwards’ luggage out of her car and tried to steal her boarding pass, the affidavit said. He also tried to restrain her, the document said, and she kneed him in the head in self-defense.

At a hearing Nov. 18, Edwards surprised prosecutors by telling Judge Bonnie Schneider that Torres hadn’t restrained her and that she had been the aggressor, prosecutors said. Schneider found him not guilty.

Seven days later, Edwards was dead.