Friend of murdered Barry University student charged with her shooting death

Jaime Plascencia
Jaime Plascencia

Almost four months after a Barry University student was found shot to death and her car was found engulfed in flames several miles away, police using cellphone technology and video surveillance have charged a teenage friend of hers with the crime.

Miami police say Jaime Plascencia, 18, shot Priscilla Torres several times, then stole her car. Questioned by police less than two weeks after the murder, Plascencia denied killing Torres and made up a story about how he injured his hand, police said.

On Monday police charged Plascencia with first-degree murder. He's being held at Turner Guilford Knight correctional center and has been denied bond.

What police have not yet explained: Why Plascencia took Torres' life.

"Unfortunately,'" said Miami police spokeswoman Kiara Delva, "I really can't go into details."

Police found Torres' bullet-riddled body lying in the street at Northwest 29th Avenue and 12th Street at 4:30 a.m. on Feb. 10. After police received a call of shots fired, a witness told them a woman screamed, then gunshots were heard. The witness said a dark vehicle circled Torres' body on the ground and someone in the car fired several more shots.

Torres was not identified at first. The next day Miami police released a sketch of her. At the same time, Miami Shores police released a flier with a picture of Torres that matched the description. Police said she was last seen in a white Nissan Sentra.

On Feb. 13, Miami Gardens police found the vehicle engulfed in flames at Myrtle Grove Elementary School, 3125 NW 176th St., Miami Gardens, a half-mile from Plascencia's home.

Plascencia's arrest form says police learned through interviews with Torres' friends that she had a friend named Jaime. Video surveillance near the shooting scene showed a man matching Plascencia's description, police said. Police interviewed Plascencia on Feb. 20. By then they said they had recovered texts and cellphone calls that showed Torres had picked him up the night she was murdered.

Police said that during the interview Plascencia kept trying to conceal his right hand. He told them he burned it at a food truck, but police said that didn't pan out.

Surveillance video at Torres' dorm at Barry showed the two entering the complex at 2:40 a.m. the night she was killed, then leaving a short time later. Sunpass recordings showed Torres' Nissan being driven in Central Florida. Police said they placed Plascencia there through cellphone records. Then on March 14, Crime Stoppers received a tip naming Plascencia.

Police said Plascencia agreed to another interview on June 4. Again, he denied being with Torres. Police weren't convinced and arrested him, charging him with her murder.