FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The 17-year-old Florida boy who was arrested after the fatal Columbus Day shooting of his playmate faces more serious charges after a court appearance Wednesday.
Jose Torres of Deerfield Beach was originally charged with attempted manslaughter, as a juvenile, after the Broward County Sheriff's Office said he shot Anthony Alejandre, 12, in the right cheek with a 9 mm Ruger handgun.
Torres, a former student at Deerfield Beach High School, told investigators he didn't think there was a round in the chamber when he aimed the gun at Alejandre and pulled the trigger.
Alejandre was on life support for four days before he died on Oct. 15.
Torres was arrested again Tuesday and charged as an adult with manslaughter with a firearm. He was also charged with tampering with physical evidence and five counts of possession of a firearm by a minor.
The shooting has caused deep grief for two formerly close families that lived across the street from each other.
Officials said the shooting happened in a bedroom of the home of Alejandre's godparents, Salvador and Tomasa Torres.
"These are hardworking people who wanted nothing more than a better life for their families, who were very loving toward Anthony," said Torres' assistant public defender, Betsy Benson. "They are grieving and in shock that this happened. Their hearts go out to Anthony's parents."
Detectives allege that Torres kept a suitcase full of weapons beneath his bed that included five handguns, swords and brass knuckles with blades.
Benson defended Torres' parents and said the teen acquired the weapons collection "in a very short period of time. They thought they knew their son, that they were disciplining him and keeping tabs on him. Jose is a very naive kid. He's still a child."
Torres is now in jail with adults, isolated from them for 23 hours a day and, Benson said, by law he cannot be a part of the main population.
"He has no access to therapy or any program to help him sort through what has happened," Benson said. "He's never been in trouble before. He was always a very obedient child and took care of his younger sister. This is a real shock."
In bond court Wednesday morning, the assistant state attorney requested a $250,000 bond, but Broward Judge Melinda "Mindy" Brown kept the amount at $9,100.
The state had sought a higher bond amount for Torres because of his alleged weapons cache as well as allegations of past violent acts by Torres against the victim, the state attorney's office said.
Also, the prosecutor was worried that Torres could be a flight risk because he has relatives in Mexico. He was required to surrender his passport.
"My client has absolutely no interest in leaving this country," Benson said.
Torres' parents are moving from the neighborhood they once called home and are struggling to come up with $910, or 10 percent of the bond amount, to get their child released from jail.
"It's a large sum for this family," Benson said. "I don't know if they can afford to get him out of jail."
The judge allowed pretrial release with a GPS monitor for Torres if he makes bail, and he is also forbidden from possessing any kind of weapon or to have contact with the victim's family.
Benson said she is disappointed that her client was charged as an adult.
"I don't want to see us lose two young men as a result of this incident," Benson said.
Visit the Sun-Sentinel on the World Wide Web at http://www.SunSentinel.com
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.