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‘Surviving Evil’ films segment in downtown Andy

Published 12:00am Friday, July 4, 2014

Andalusia resident Judy Murrell still has nightmares about what happened to her in April of 2011, when she was held captive by her then-boyfriend, sexually assaulted, and shot three times at close range. Thursday, Murrell relived the morning she nearly lost her life as actors re-enacted the events where they first took place in downtown Andalusia.

“That’s the actual car we were in,” Murrell said Thursday as she watched the scene come together from the Dairy Queen parking lot on East Three Notch Street. “It’s still got the bullet holes in it.”

The actors and film crew, working to recreate scenes from Murrell’s ordeal for the Investigation Discovery TV show, “Surviving Evil,” blocked off portions of downtown to film the scene in which she escapes from a car driven by her attacker, Raul Del Torro.

Murrell recalled that morning more than four years ago when she made the decision to fight for her life.

“He had kept me up all night and I was tired and hurting,” she said. “I finally told him that if he was going to kill me, to just do it, but not at my house where my daughter would find me. He said, ‘OK,’ and we got in my car.”

Murrell said Del Torro forced her to lay her car seat back so she would not be visible to other motorists, but added she could tell by the motion of the vehicle where he was driving.

“I could tell by the dips in the road where we were,” she said. “I felt us go over the railroad tracks and go around the square and I knew it was now or never, so I reached over just pulled the steering wheel. That’s when I heard the first bang.”

Murrell said Del Torro shot her three times at close range with her own .9mm handgun, hitting her in her chest, side and right hip.

“He hit me in my breast and it went out my back; hit me in the side; and the bullet in my hip is still there,” she said.

Murrell eventually lost her spleen, gallbladder and a portion of her colon and small intestine, but escaped with her life. Del Torro fled the scene, leaving Murrell badly wounded in the parking lot between Dairy Queen and Ashley Furniture. He was apprehended by Andalusia Police Department officers later that day and eventually pleaded guilty to attempted murder and sexual torture.

On hand for Thursday’s recreation was Assistant Chief of Police Paul Dean, who was a lieutenant in charge of criminal investigations at the time. Dean said Del Torro’s actions that day, as well as the night before, could only be described as pure evil.

“This is a prime example of a case that fits perfectly with the concept of this television show,” he said. “I have seen cases similar to this one that resulted in homicide, but this is one of the worse acts against someone who survived as I’ve seen.”

Murrell said, when initially contacted by the show’s producer, she was concerned about reliving such horrifying events, but decided it could be of some help to women in similar situations.

“He had been abusive before,” she said. “It’s brought back bad memories and the nightmares again, but if can help one person, it’s worth it.”

“Surviving Evil,” is an investigative TV series that documents and recreates events from the lives of people who have lived through horrific events perpetrated by others. Dean said the crew spent a number of days in the Andalusia are recreating scenes and interviewing those involved in the events. The episode featuring Murrell’s story is tentatively scheduled to air in November.

Murrell remains a resident of Andalusia and still lives in the home where her ordeal began. Del Torro is currently serving two life sentences for his crimes.

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