Could the alleged Winter Springs carjacker face the death penalty?

Jordanish Torres-Garcia, the man who allegedly carjacked Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas in broad daylight in April, appeared in federal court on Friday morning. 

The 28-year-old's arraignment was scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Orlando. 

Torres-Garcia, who appeared in court with his ankles bound in cuffs, had his charges read to him by federal prosecutors: carjacking resulting in death, kidnapping and using a firearm in the commission of a crime resulting in death. 

Those first two could result in life sentences. The last one has a 10-year minimum.

Torres-Garcia answered the judge through a translator and pleaded not guilty. 

Jordanish Torres-Garcia was federally charged with carjacking resulting in death. The charges came after he was arrested on an unrelated warrant from a weapons-related crime in Puerto Rico. (Photo: Seminole County Sheriff's Office)

Who's who in deadly Seminole County carjacking case  

The court-appointed defense team thinks this may wind up as a capital case, meaning prosecutors could be seeking the death penalty. Attorneys for this case said it's in the very early stages and could be drawn out for years. 

"The indictment, they have listed factors that wouldn't – they have to prove to seek death in case for possible death sentence. Their motivation for doing that is not really clear at this point," said defense attorney Roger Weeden. 

FOX 35's Marie Edinger asked the attorney what those factors would be. 

"There’s like ten of them they've listed. And first of all, has to be age possessed to be over the age of 18 to seek death. And then there have to be what they call aggravating factors. Why this is different," Weeden added. 

Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas was carjacked on April 11, 2024 in Winter Springs, Florida. A witness caught the incident on video. (Photo: Seminole County Sheriff's Office)

Torres-Garcia is not charged with murder. That’s because the U.S. Attorney’s Office decided to take up the case. To keep it in federal court, the attorneys said they’ll need a commerce connection in the carjacking – saying this car originated outside of Florida.

"We're just the starting point here, you know. And, we'll see what evidence they claim to have and where they come forward with," Weeden said. 

It should be noted that the judge in Friday's arraignment was a magistrate. The judge who will preside over Torres-Garcia's trial will be a different judge from the district court. 

Torres-Garcia will remain in custody, and he's due back in court on June 20 for a status hearing. The other defense attorney, Todd Doss, is scheduled to be in court again on July 1. But the defense team says that could be delayed since they don't have discovery yet. 

Torres-Garcia previously made his first appearance in court on April 25 for a probable case hearing. At the time, a judge ordered Torres-Garcia to stay in the U.S. because of the deadly carjacking case, even though there's a warrant out for his arrest in Puerto Rico. Next steps include waiting for the case to be brought before a grand jury. 

Jordanish Torres-Garcia made his first appearance in court on April 25, 2024 for a probable cause hearing. He has been charged federally with carjacking resulting in death. (Photo: Nef Melendez)

Guerrero De Aguasvivas, of Homestead, was driving from South to Central Florida on April 11 when she was carjacked at gunpoint at a Winter Springs intersection, an incident that was caught on witness video and has since gone viral. 

Torres-Garcia was first linked to the carjacking, which claimed the life of 31-year-old Guerrero De Aguasvivas, when law enforcement discovered he had a connection to the purchase of the green Acura that was reportedly following and bumping into the woman's car in the minutes before the alleged incident. 

His phone number matched the number of the person who bought the car, and in his Facebook profile picture – connected to the account he used to buy the Acura on Facebook Marketplace – he was wearing the same outfit as the one used in the alleged carjacking, according to Sheriff Lemma. His phone number was also linked to a previous Orange County burglary report.

Torres-Garcia was arrested April 19 on a warrant for a weapons-related crime in Puerto Rico and has since remained in custody in Seminole County. 

Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas, 31, was carjacked on April 11, 2024 in Winter Springs, Florida. (Photo: Seminole County Sheriff's Office)

The federal affidavit revealed that Torres-Garcia met with an unidentified subject 30 minutes before the carjacking, where he received the AR-15 that was used in the alleged crime. He said he was paid $1,500 to take Guerrero De Aguasvivas and "deliver her to another individual," the affidavit said. It remains unclear at this time to whom or to where she was supposed to be taken, but officials said they believe this incident is related to drugs. 

Hours later, Guerrero De Aguasvivas' vehicle was found engulfed in flames in Osceola County. A body was found inside, which is believed to be that of Guerrero De Aguasvivas. The FBI affidavit noted that Guerrero De Aguasvivas was shot multiple times. 

The carjacking investigation has since been turned over to the feds.