Man gets 20 years for 2007 attack on Katy Trail cyclist

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by By BLANCA CANT / The Dallas Morning News bcantu@dallasnews.com

wfaa.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:46 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 16 at 11:52 AM

An 18-year-old was sentenced to 20 years in prison Friday for attacking a cyclist on the Katy Trail in 2007.

Jose Torres, who was found guilty Wednesday, will also have to pay a $10,000 fine for his role in beating and robbing Elizabeth Prezio as she biked on the trail in November 2007.

Prezio said Friday that the sentence seemed reasonable. She said the attack violated people who use and love the Katy Trail.

"I think he really is a violent person," she said. "I think he needs to be put away."

Torres had faced five years to life in prison for his role in the first-degree felony.

Earlier Friday, Dallas County prosecutor Jenni Morse asked jurors to sentence Torres to 10 years in prison for each of the five fractures that Prezio suffered in the attack, but Morse said she was satisfied with the jury's decision.

Torres will have to spend 10 years in prison before he is eligible for parole, she said.

"Hopefully ... [the outcome] will reassure people that offenders will be treated justly for violent public offenses," Morse said.

Defense attorney Susan Anderson had urged jurors to give Torres probation, but she called the sentence fair.

On the stand Thursday, Torres acknowledged that he was on multiple drugs when he and a then-15-year-old attacked Prezio and stole her cellphone and iPod. The younger suspect has since been convicted.

Torres spoke of skipping school, hanging with gang members and using "cheese" heroin.

Prezio spent four days in the hospital after the attack. Her pelvis was broken in four places and she had one break in her collarbone.

Prezio said that at one point she felt sorry for Torres, but that faded because she didn't feel his claims of remorse were credible.

"He didn't look me in my eye when he said he was sorry," she said. "I never got the slightest feeling from him that he was in any way sorry."

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