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NK man found guilty in PO woman’s death

A North Kitsap man was found guilty in Kitsap County Superior Court Tuesday morning of vehicular homicide in the death of Port Orchard resident Jessica Z. Torres, who was killed as she drove home from work 18 months ago.

“We are very happy that justice was served,” said Torres’ mother, Manchester resident Joan Davis. “We are pretty darn thankful.”

Both sides completed their arguments Monday, and Davis said the jury deliberated a little over two hours.

“(Our family) got to the courthouse at 9 a.m. (Tuesday morning) and we just paced outside,” she said. “We were so nervous.”

Davis said Harvey was handcuffed and taken into custody following the verdict June 16, and that his sentencing is scheduled for June 26. Davis said the sentencing range was 51 months, or 4.25 years.

“I think it should be more. Two families’ lives have been changed forever,” she said. “The difference is, he gets to go home at the end of his sentence.”

Torres, 34, was driving home from her office in Poulsbo on Jan. 21, 2008, when investigators from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office reported that Harvey, driving a 2001 Volkswagen Passat, drove into the opposite lane of traffic on the 22600 block of Clear Creek Road.

Harvey then collided with Torres, driving a 2000 Mazda Protege, pushing her vehicle back 30 feet, then continuing another 70 feet and hitting two trees before stopping. Deputies also reportedly found an open and “half-empty,” 1.75-liter bottle of Jim Bean Black whiskey in Harvey’s vehicle.

Torres died at the scene. Harvey was taken to Harrison Medical Center and treated and released.

The trial was originally scheduled to begin months ago, but the proceedings were delayed by defense motions to suppress the blood evidence collected from the defendant. Lewis said the motions were either denied or dropped prior to trial.

Davis said the family was relieved to finally have the trial completed, but that reliving the accident was extremely difficult.

“The hardest part for our family was that after 18 months, we were finally starting to feel a bit better,” she said. “But once the trial started, we hard to re-live the crash many, many times over. I think we heard the corner’s report six or seven times. That was very hard on the family.”

Davis said that Torres’ husband, Joe, and their two children, Rachel, 16, and Tony, 12, are doing OK, thanks to what she described as a “big, supportive family.”

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