Thirteen years after a shooting that killed a Gainesville teen, a Cooke County jury this week convicted a Valley View man of murder and sentenced him to 40 years in prison, the Cooke County District Attorney’s Office said Friday, Nov. 8.
Jimmy Ray Ellis, 37, was convicted on a first-degree felony charge of engaging in organized criminal activity-murder stemming from the Aug. 12, 2006 death of 16-year-old Raymundo Torres. The teen died by gunfire in a home in the 600 block of North Morris Street, the Register previously reported.
District Attorney John Warren said in a press release that Ellis had fired 10 shots into the home, one of which hit Torres as he lay on the couch.
Torres “was rushed to the hospital where he died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head,” Warren said. His parents, sister and infant niece were home at the time, too.
It was the second deadly drive-by shooting to take place that year, according to the district attorney’s office. The shootings involved the Nortenos and Surenos, both classified as violent criminal street gangs by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the district attorney’s office indicated. Warren said Ellis was an active member of the Nortenos.
After Warren took office in 2017, he and First Assistant District Attorney Eric Erlandson restarted an investigation into the case, the release indicated. They spoke with witnesses and Gainesville Police Department investigators who had been involved in the case in 2006 and presented the case to a Cooke County Grand Jury 12 years after the shooting, receiving an indictment March 21, 2018, according to the release.
A jury was selected Nov. 4 for the trial in the 235th District Court at the Cooke County Courthouse in Gainesville. Warren and Erlandson prosecuted the case, the release from Warren’s office indicated. Roger Williams, a Montague County attorney, represented Ellis. Judge Janelle Haverkamp presided.
“This result is the bookend of a thorough and important investigation began by the Gainesville Police Department over 13 years ago,” Erlandson said in the release. “The district attorney’s office is proud to stand up for the victim’s family in this case and to help them receive some closure to this terrible and senseless act that happened.”
Warren, too, said he’s pleased with the result.
“It was a lot of hard work, but in the end a violent criminal was removed from our community,” he said in the release. “The jury did an outstanding job. The case involved some unique facts and uncommon legal issues which made the case challenging for the jury. I want to thank them for their time and attention in a difficult and emotional case.”
Ellis remained in the Cooke County Jail on Friday, where he’d been incarcerated since March 26, 2018.
Three other men — Jeremy Wallace, Arturo Jesus Herrera and Johnny Allen Young — were also charged in the shooting that killed Torres, officials previously said. Their cases are still pending, Warren said Friday.
Wallace, 40, of Gainesville, was also booked into the Cooke County Jail in March 2018 and was still incarcerated as of Friday, according to jail records, in lieu of $200,000 bail. Jail records also show Young, 30, of Denton, was booked into the Cooke County Jail on June 19, 2018, and remains there in lieu of $200,000 bail.