Rachel Torres of Detroit leads a ‘Rally For Justice’ in front of the U.S. District Courthouse in down-town Toledo. She wants her brother’s 1989 killer to get the maximum sentence for new charges.
Twenty-four years after her older brother was shot dead in a Toledo street, Rachel Torres was appalled to learn guns, ammunition, and body armor were seized from his killer’s home and business.
Family members, many of whom were not even born when Tony Torres was killed in August, 1989, demonstrated outside the federal courthouse in downtown Toledo Tuesday holding signs asking the court to give Richard Schmidt the maximum sentence for his latest crimes.
“To relive this again, to see this man is out there and he had the ammunition and the means to do it again is terrible,” Ms. Torres, who now lives in Detroit, said.
Schmidt, 47, of 1705 Marlow Rd. pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court last month to two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms and one count each of being a felon in possession of body armor and trafficking in counterfeit goods.
He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 31 by Judge Jack Zouhary.
Schmidt was arrested after his sports memorabilia store at the Woodland Mall in Bowling Green was raided by federal agents. In addition to seizing counterfeit merchandise, agents found 18 guns, more than 400,000 rounds of ammunition, and body armor.
He had been forbidden from ever owning firearms as part of his 13-year prison sentence for manslaughter and two counts of felonious assault.
Ms. Torres said that because his latest crimes are “victimless,” she wants the court to know how he affected the lives of her and her family as well as the four other young men who were with her 20-year-old brother the night he was shot near Detroit and Glendale avenues.
“It was very traumatic for all of them,” Ms. Torres said. “It was a tragedy.”
She said she wanted to give people a picture of her brother, who graduated from Waite High School and competed as a varsity wrestler. All of the boys were high school athletes, not gang members as some thought, Ms. Torres said.
Although her family did not think of the murder as a hate crime when it happened, she said it is disturbing to know investigators found evidence that Schmidt has neo-Nazi sympathies.
“We cannot stand by and let the law enforcement’s hard work be in vain,” a flyer that family members were handing out stated. “This monster of a man is a danger to society on many levels and deserves the maximum penalty and to the full extent of the law before he can kill again.”
Ms. Torres said she and family members plan to write letters to Judge Zouhary prior to Schmidt’s sentencing, and some plan to attend the hearing.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.
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