Felipe Torrealba, South Florida Murder Suspect, Denied Bond

Man who eluded authorities for months to remain behind bars

By Donna Rapado and Brian Hamacher
|  Friday, Feb 1, 2013  |  Updated 12:09 PM EDT
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Felipe Torrealba, 26, will remain behind bars despite the fact that the only charges against him right now are drug-related, Broward Judge Raag Singhal ruled. Attorney Jim Lewis comments.

Felipe Torrealba, 26, will remain behind bars despite the fact that the only charges against him right now are drug-related, Broward Judge Raag Singhal ruled. Attorney Jim Lewis comments.

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Felipe Torrealba, one of the U.S. Marshals' 15 most wanted fugitives, was taken into custody in Fort Myers. U.S. Marshals spokesman Barry Golden and Sweetwater Mayor Manny Marono discuss the arrest.

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Felipe Alex Torrealba, one of the US Marshals' 15 most wanted fugitives, is shown in the custody of the Broward Sheriff's Office.
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A South Florida murder suspect who eluded authorities for months and landed on the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted List before his capture was denied bond by a judge Friday.

Felipe Torrealba, 26, will remain behind bars despite the fact that the only charges against him right now are drug-related, Broward Judge Raag Singhal ruled.

Torrealba, who appeared in court Friday in a red prison jumper with the words "Max Custody Inmate," faces several charges including drug trafficking and possession.

Murder Suspect Eludes Authorities Again

The Broward Sheriff's Office called Torrealba a suspect in the murder of Kris Smalls, 42, of Weston, who was found dead in his SUV in March one week after he was reported missing.

Torrealba was also wanted in connection with a January incident in which he was shot in the ear by a Sweetwater Police officer as he fled a traffic stop, police said. He had been on the run until he was captured in a townhouse in Fort Myers in December.

At Friday's hearing, prosecutors called Torrealba a "dangerous person" and needed to remain in jail to guarantee his appearance in court.

Singhal agreed with prosecutors, saying he believes if Torrealba was let out of jail, he'd disappear again.

"My first day on the bench was October 3, 2011. On October 4, 2011, I put out a no bond warrant on Mr. Torrealba because he failed to appear," Singhal said. "This is the first I've seen him."

Person of Interest Named in Murder Case

Torrealba's attorney, Jim Lewis, said prosecutors weren't telling the whole story about keeping his client behind bars.

"It's a concern that I understand that they have but you have to understand from Mr. Torrealba's point of view too," Lewis said. "Some of the things the police have done to try and put him in jail and even kill him."

Lewis claims law enforcement is out to get his client, and even showed Singhal a photo of a bloodied Torrealba he says was taken by an officer after Torrealba's capture.

"There was no indication that he fought back or resisted in any way and apparently this photograph was taken sort of as a trophy photograph," Lewis said. "If they have some charges they outta file them if not all this smoke and stuff should go away so that he can be tried with just the cases he has been charged with."

Torrealba's trial on the drug charges is set for March.

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