Former Pearl Harbor MP charged with murder

Witness tells of Torres’ confession and threats

By Debra Barayuga

Accused murderer Jenaro Torres threatened to kill a former co-worker and her family if she told anyone he had robbed a bank in Hawaii and killed someone, the woman testified.

Susan Davis said she believed Torres’ threat, and for nearly six months she kept the secret to herself, putting up with his harassment and living in fear.

“‘I’ll know if you told anybody and if you want to see your children and family again’ … that terrified me. I know what he meant,” Davis testified yesterday in Circuit Court. “You’re the only one that knows,” Torres told her, she said.


Torres, a former Pearl Harbor military police officer, is charged with second-degree murder in the disappearance and murder of Ruben Gallegos, a Navy Exchange cashier. Gallegos was last seen May 5, 1992, leaving his cashier cage with Torres and carrying a money bag containing about $80,000.

More than five years after Gallegos’ disappearance, Torres confessed to Davis in California over lunch before warning her not to tell anyone, she testified, noting that his revelations shocked her.

“Who’d make up a story like that? Why would you terrify somebody if you’re supposed to be a friend?” she said.

In the past, Torres had bragged to her and other co-workers about his military background, that he knew how to kill and that if they were ever unhappy with their husbands, he could hire someone to get rid of them, according to Davis.

She went out of her way to avoid contact with Torres after that, but he would stop by her desk and make comments like “I’m watching you, good girl,” or, “Good girl, you haven’t told anybody,” she said.

He taunted her with messages on her voice mail, commenting on how lovely the day was and thanking her for being his friend, she testified, her voice breaking.

In June 1998, Navy investigators contacted Davis, and she told them what Torres told her because she could not live in fear anymore, she said.

She told them that over lunch at a Taco Bell, Torres revealed he had robbed a bank in Hawaii so he could go to California to be closer to his mother, who was dying of cancer. He wanted to prove to his siblings that he did care about her and could be there for her and all of them, she said.

Torres told her two other people were involved in the robbery but that something went wrong in the bank and only he came out. Another individual was outside waiting in the getaway car. But as Torres got into the car and tossed the money bag inside, his partner leaned down to pick up the bag and said, “I don’t want any of this. I want out,” Davis recounted.

Torres’ response was, “No one backs out on Jenaro.”

“When he told me at that point, I got scared,” said Davis. “I can’t believe I’m hearing this.”

But curiosity got the best of her, and she asked him if anyone got killed. His answer terrified her, she said.

“I can’t answer that right now,” he told her, Davis testified. “Don’t worry about it. I took care of it.”

He told her their plan was to bury the money then go back for it later, and the money would be split, she said. Military police, alerted about the missing money, arrested Torres when he tried to get back on base about five hours later.

In the trunk of his car were some of Gallegos’ belongings, including his Texas driver’s license and his wallet.


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