NK man found guilty in PO woman’s death
By JUSTINE FREDERIKSEN
North Kitsap Herald Port Orchard reporter
June 18, 2009 · Updated 2:51 PM
PORT ORCHARD — 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’re very happy that justice was served,” said Torres’ mother, Manchester resident Joan Davis. “We’re pretty darned thankful.”
Both sides completed their arguments Monday, and Davis said the jury deliberated a little more than 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.”
Stephen Harvey was handcuffed and taken into custody following the verdict June 16, and that his sentencing is scheduled for June 26, Davis said, adding that 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 collided with Torres, driving a 2000 Mazda Protege, pushing her vehicle back 30 feet. His vehicle continued another 70 feet and hit two trees before stopping.
Deputies also reportedly found an open and “half-empty,” 1.75-liter bottle of Jim Beam Black whiskey in Harvey’s vehicle.
Torres died at the scene.
Harvey was taken to Harrison Medical Center, where he was treated and released.
The trial was originally scheduled to begin months ago, but the proceedings were delayed by defense's attempts to suppress Harvey's blood evidence. 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 had 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.”