Military trial scheduled for airman accused of purchasing firearm used in Grand Forks Air Force Base murder-suicide

A1C Daesha Heard will appear for a trial on May 24. She is the registered owner of a gun A1C Julian Carlos Torres used to shoot A1C Natasha Aposhian and then himself on the base last spring.

A view of the visitors gate at the Grand Forks Air Force Base is shown as it stood in 2019. Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald

A trial has been scheduled in military court for the airman accused of illegally purchasing the firearm used in a murder-suicide on the Grand Forks Air Force Base last spring.

Airman First Class Daesha Renee Heard is scheduled to appear in court on May 24. She was charged with making false statements and unlawful purchase and transfer of a firearm in federal court in July 2020. Those charges were suspended in favor of an Air Force court-martial on Aug. 7, 2020.

According to the federal court documents, A1C Julian Carlos Torres got into a verbal altercation with A1C Natasha Aposhian in a Grand Forks Air Force base dormitory on June 1, 2020. During the altercation, Torres used a Glock 40-caliber pistol to shoot and kill Aposhian. He then killed himself.

Investigators found that Heard was the registered owner of the Glock, and records showed she had purchased the pistol one month prior to the incident, on May 5.

Related: Lawmakers seek congressional investigation into military murders


Heard told investigators that Torres had asked her multiple times to buy a firearm for him, because he was under the age of 21 and unable to legally purchase a firearm for himself.

Heard and Torres went to B&B Guns in Grand Forks on May 5, where he picked out the gun while she waited. She told investigators that she paid about $500 for the gun, including 30 to 50 rounds of ammunition and an extended magazine. Torres gave her $500 for the purchase, but stopped her when she started to write on the receipt that she was gifting it to him, saying he wanted to make an official typed copy.

She told investigators that she instructed Torres to store the gun in the base armory, but he told her he had an unspecified friend with whom he planned to keep the gun. Heard did not believe Torres had any ill intentions for the firearm, according to court documents.

Aposhian's family has called her murder an act of domestic violence, and say she and Torres were dating in the weeks leading up to her death. In a press conference in Arizona last summer , Aposhian's mother said her daughter confided in her days before her death that she was afraid Torres was going to hurt her.

Aposhian's father, Brian Murray, told the Herald on Thursday, March 4, that his family expected the investigation into her death to be completed last August, and they have grown frustrated with the slow progress.

"I want the supervisor for Torres who was responsible for doing checks on dorms and making sure firearms are not there and (Commander Col. Cameron Pringle), who's responsible for security at the base, and the airmen both held accountable," Murray told the Herald. "There was a failure of leadership by the Grand Forks Base Command unit. My daughter should still be alive."


Aposhian Natasha.jpg
Natasha Aposhian, of Phoenix, has been identified by her family as one of the two people who died in an incident Monday, June 1, at Grand Forks Air Force Base. (Photo submitted to the Herald by the family)

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