FAIRFAX, Va. - A former Fairfax County police officer who fatally shot a Springfield man as he was standing unarmed in front of his home has been sentenced to one year in jail.
Adam Torres pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter earlier this year for shooting 46-year-old John Geer while he stood in the doorway of his Springfield home during a standoff three years ago.
Geer’s mother is outraged over the sentence.
“If I went out and shot somebody, I would never see the light of day,” said Anne Geer. “One year in jail is insulting. It was murder. It was not involuntary manslaughter.”
Geer was unarmed when he was shot by Torres, who said he saw Geer's hands moving toward his waist. Other officers at the scene disputed that claim.
“He was standing here with his hands up,” said Geer’s mother. “He had been that way for 40 minutes and this guy was mad at his wife, so he shot John.”
Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh said other Geer family members did support the involuntary manslaughter guilty plea sorted out just before Torres was set to go on trial for second-degree murder.
“I just wanted him punished,” Morrogh said. “It's not a perfect punishment, but he is no longer a police officer. He can never be a police officer and he has been in jail for almost a year, so that is some measure of justice, although not perfect.”
The county settled a civil case with Geer's family for nearly $3 million and created a special commission to look at policies regarding police use of force. That has prompted changes and Geer's mother said she finds more justice in that than this court case.
“The chief of police has already implemented many of these things, and in this respect, John will not have died in vain,” she said.
The one-year sentence comes with time served and Torres has been behind bars since last August. Officials said that means he will likely get out very soon, perhaps within weeks.
Torres did not speak in court on Friday. His wife was there with the couple's baby, who was born since Torres’ bond was revoked. Outside of the courtroom, Torres’ wife said she loves her husband, but declined to comment on the sentence.