Details continue to come to light about the activities of accused murderer Alex Torres-Santos in the two months between his placement on house arrest for unrelated charges and the May 30 triple killing of two children and a teenager.

He is one of three persons charged with the killings.

At the time of the May 30 triple homicide, Torres-Santos was a defendant in two earlier Lebanon County criminal prosecutions, both of which involved shootings. 

In each of those earlier cases, Magisterial District Judge Aurelis Figueroa reduced bail from $100,000 to $50,000 and allowed Torres-Santos to be released from jail on house arrest if he posted the reduced bail in both actions, a total of $100,000, which he did.

Official court records state Torres-Santos was released on house arrest in the earlier cases on March 30, 2023.  

However, Audrey Fortna, Director of Lebanon County Probation Services, told LebTown that Torres-Santos was actually released from jail late on April 5, 2023, and was officially placed on house arrest on April 6, 2023.

Fortna, responding to LebTown’s questions through the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC), added Torres-Santos “was detained briefly on 5/5/23 for an alleged violation of bail supervision; however, he was released the same day due (to) the verbiage of the bail order” issued by MDJ Figueroa. As of publication time, no further clarification had been provided regarding what specifically in the verbiage had caused Torres-Santos to be unable to be detained.

This is consistent with Lebanon County District Attorney Pier Hess Graf’s earlier statement that formal probation violation or revocation proceedings couldn’t be filed on May 5 because MDJ Figueroa had not properly informed Torres-Santos of the rules of house arrest release, as required by law.

Neither Fortna nor Hess Graf has disclosed the specifics of Torres-Santos’ alleged probation violation in May. Hess Graf previously told LebTown she believed it may have been a curfew violation or drugs detected in a urine sample.

“The violation that he had, to the best of my understanding, was not another crime; it was not a weapons offense,” said Hess Graf.

Defendants who commit probation violations are not always re-incarcerated, depending on the exact nature of the violation.

Figueroa has not responded to repeated requests for comment regarding her release of Torres-Santos on house arrest.

Hess Graf stated that when he was detained on May 5, Torres-Santos was properly informed of the house arrest rules before his re-release the same day. She did not know who would have done that.

Fortna, speaking through an AOPC spokesperson, said Torres-Santos “was never brought before the Court for a modification of his bail conditions. He only appeared in Court after an Emergency Motion to Revoke Bail was filed on June 1, 2023,” which was the day after the triple homicide.

Hess Graf said she considered the $50,000 reduced bail in each of Torres-Santos’ earlier cases to be inadequate but that she did not ask a judge, before or after Torres-Santos was detained on May 5, to raise bail back to $100,000 or even higher.

The Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure allow the prosecution or defense in a criminal case to ask a judge of the Court of Common Pleas to modify bail, up or down, at any time.

Read More: Judicial Conduct Board unable to confirm or deny investigation into MDJ Figueroa

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Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...

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