Remembering one of NJ’s most gruesome murder cases
On June 25th, 1969, a Jersey City grocer named Rafael Torres brutally murdered his wife and seven of their children.
Torres had bludgeoned them with a baseball bat and then stabbed them, leaving a shocking and bloody crime scene within their apartment. One son was found hiding on the roof of the building with severe stab wounds. A neighbor called the police after hearing shrieking coming from the apartment and when police arrived, they found Torres, soaked in his family’s blood, running out the back door. The New York Daily News reports he “put up a vicious struggle” with police before being subdued.
Forty year old Rafael Torres had, for still unknown reason, massacred his family; one son survived the wounds, one son was staying elsewhere, but he killed six of his daughters and a son who ranged in age from 9-20. Making things even worse was fact that he was out on bail for another murder and was awaiting trial. He had been committed to a psychiatric facility for that crime but after two days, his wife, against his own lawyer’s recommendation, signed him out, which proved to be a fatal mistake.
While neighbors expressed shock that the friendly store owner could do such a heinous crime, he had a pretty extensive rap sheet including assault with intent to kill and beaten his oldest daughter so severely that she needed to be hospitalized. He never gave a motive for his rampage and he never faced trial for the familicide. He pleaded guilty to the previous shooting, got 15-20 years in prison, but was then committed to a psychiatric facility to serve his parole.
He was released in 1984 and what happened to him after that is unknown.