A judge has denied Victoria Afet’s guilty plea in the Skyline Apartments murder case in Syracuse, NY on Thursday, May 27.
Victoria Afet, 23, is accused of murder, murder by torture and eight other charges for the killing of 93-year-old Connie Tuori in February 2021. Tuori was a resident of the Skyline Apartments.
If Afet’s case makes it to trial, prosecutors are planning to prove that Afet found pleasure in the killing, according to CNY Central. That is where the rare charge of murder by torture comes in.
Tuori was killed sometime in late February, but her body was not discovered until March 17.
According to Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick, no one in the District Attorney’s office can recall murder by torture ever being filed in Onondaga County.
An indictment earlier this month went into detail about Tuori’s murder. Security footage shows Afet following Tuori into her apartment on the 12th floor of the Skyline Apartments. Afet did not live at the Skyline Apartments, police told CNY Central.
Afet allegedly stabbed Tuori with a knife and stuffed items down her throat before then hiding her body in a bedroom, according to the indictment.
NY state law describes the torture-murder charge as “the intentional and depraved infliction of extreme physical pain.” According to CNY Central.
“The proof, allegedly, will show that there was torture to Connie,” DA Fitzpatrick told CNY Central. “And based on statements that the defendant made, which I won’t go into, we believe we can meet that element of enjoyment to a jury.”
After Victoria Afet’s attorneys entered a plea of not guilty on all charges, Afet spoke up while Judge Matthew Doran was addressing the court.
“Judge, my lawyers aren’t doing what I want. I want to plead guilty. I want to hear my offers now,” said Afet, according to Spectrum News.
Afet’s attorney, Susan Carey, addressed the court and revealed that Afet only said that because she is confined to the same cell 24 hours a day, seven days a week and thinks she will be moved to a place less restrictive if she pleads guilty.
The defense claims it is pre-mature to allow Afet to enter a guilty plea without seeing all evidence, according to Spectrum News. Her lawyers emphasized that Afet is innocent until proven guilty.
Judge Doran denied Afet’s impromptu attempt to plead guilty. The not guilty plea on all counts will remain on Afet’s record, according to Spectrum News.
The indictment charged Afet with first-degree murder which is punishable by life in prison without parole. The first-degree murder charge is for allegedly intentionally causing the death of Tuori, and acting in a cruel and unusual manner.
Afet also faces second-degree murder charges as well as charges for burglary, weapons possession, and for allegedly dragging Tuori’s body to a bedroom to conceal it after the murder.
There will be a pre-trial conference on June 28. Afet remains held at the Onondaga County Justice Center on no bail.