Witness describes hearing order to shoot in Grand Forks Flying J murder trial testimony
FARGO—A man who witnessed the murder of 24-year-old Austin Forsman in March 2016 heard a man order the shooting in a phone conversation, according to testimony in U.S. District Court Monday, Oct. 2.
Torre Risberg became the second in-person witness to the March 11, 2016, shooting to take the stand in the trial of Modesto Alfredo Torrez, who has been accused of being the voice ordering that murder and the ringleader of a group of 13 people charged with trafficking meth throughout the Red River Valley.
Twelve co-conspirators, including admitted shooter Krystal Lynn Feist, have pleaded guilty in the case. Feist will be sentenced for the murder on Oct. 31 and is expected to testify Tuesday.
Torrez is the only person to go to trial and had initially entered a plea agreement himself before reconsidering.
Risberg testified to accompanying Feist in the early hours of March 11 and being in the passenger seat of her white Chevrolet Tahoe as she shot Forsman in the head.
Risberg said he knew Feist and would occasionally buy meth from her. On March 10, he said she gave him a half-gram of the drug. He testified that Feist had dropped him off at his grandfather's home in Grand Forks shortly after midnight on March 11, but at about 2 a.m., she called again and asked him to accompany her to Northwood, N.D., to pick up a vehicle.
On the way out of Grand Forks, Risberg testified that Feist received a text from someone listed in her phone as "La Familia" asking her to get a "burner" or gun.
Risberg said Feist instantly became very intense and began speeding west along Gateway Drive, banging on the steering wheel. They headed to Arvilla, N.D., and pulled into an alley next to a garage. Feist got out and came back moments later. From there, Risberg said they drove to the Grand Forks Industrial Park, where Feist kicked out her driver's side window and began to load a shotgun. Risberg testified Feist attempted to fire the shotgun, but the gun failed.
Feist told Risberg that Aaron Morado, Torrez's cousin who testified as a murder witness Friday, was being "shackled" against his will and someone was threatening Morado's life, he testified.
"She said, 'That's my family and I've got to take care of it,' " Risberg said.
The two went to the Flying J truckstop, where at 3:34 a.m. surveillance video shows Feist buying snacks. They next went to the C'Mon Inn, where Morado was with Forsman, and waited outside.
Feist received a call, Risberg testified, and put it on speaker phone. He said a male voice told her something about coming from Crookston, told Feist to go to the Flying J and heard "What I want you to do is pull up behind the vehicle, jump out and shoot him."
They returned to the Flying J, Risberg testified, and saw one car parked in front of the building. As they approached, Risberg said he saw Morado exit the car, which surprised him because Feist said Morado was being restrained and threatened.
Morado entered their back seat as Feist was talking on the phone.
"The last thing I heard her say was 'yes or no?,' " Risberg said.
She then exited her car, screamed something at the other vehicle and fired one shot into the vehicle, Risberg testified.
As they pulled off, Risberg said he was in shock and asked Feist what she did.
"She said, 'I just shot somebody in the head and I have no remorse,' " Risberg recalled.
They drove south on Interstate 29 and got off at the Thompson exit, where Risberg said there was a black Chevrolet Silverado with a man and woman inside. Morado got into the Silverado, Risberg said.
His account matches the account Morado gave to the jury on Friday.
In an interview with Grand Forks Police detectives shown to the jury Monday, Torrez told police one of the vehicles he drives is a Silverado registered to his father.
Risberg will be cross-examined Tuesday to give defense attorney Charles Stock time to prepare. Prosecutors had intended to call Feist Monday, but said she wanted to speak to her attorney before taking the stand and was delayed until Tuesday.
Law enforcement testifies
Detective Rob Starr testified to reviewing surveillance at the Flying J the morning of March 11.
At 3:30 a.m., Feist's white Tahoe is seen entering the parking lot. She is seen buying snacks and wearing a "Minions" T-shirt and a black Hurley baseball hat and leaving at 3:36 a.m.
At 4 a.m., Forsman and Morado arrive at the Flying J parking lot in a Chevrolet Malibu but park off camera. At 4:01 a.m., the Tahoe is seen entering the lot again and going off camera. At 4:02 a.m., the Tahoe is seen driving away.
Jurors were also shown graphic images of Forsman, who was shot directly in the right eye.