Guilty Verdict in Murder Trial of Peninsula Officer - NBC Bay Area

Guilty Verdict in Murder Trial of Peninsula Officer



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    East Palo Alto Police

    The family of a East Palo Alto police officer killed in the line of duty have extra reason to give thanks this pre-Thanksgiving Day.

    That's because a San Mateo County jury has convicted 26-year-old Alberto  Alvarez of murder for killing East Palo Alto police Officer Richard  May.

    "We certainly have a good Thanksgiving ahead of us," said May's sister, Tami McMillan.

    "We are relieved and overwhelmed," May's wife Diana said of the verdict.

    The jury made quick work of deliberations and came to a verdict during their second day.   May's family members cried quietly as the court clerk read the jurors decision.

    They  found Alvarez  guilty of first-degree murder with the special circumstance of killing a  peace officer, which means he will face the death penalty.

    The shooting happened nearly four years ago on Jan. 7, 2006, after May responded to a report of a disturbance at the Villa Taqueria on University Avenue shortly after 4 p.m.

    Prosecuting attorney Steve Wagstaffe called the shooting an "execution" and said it was premeditated and deliberate.

    On that fateful day May found and followed Alvarez down several blocks to nearby Weeks Street, where he tried to confront Alvarez.

    At one point, the men exchanged gunfire.

    Prosecutors said Alvarez shot first.  The defense claimed said May did.

    May fell to the ground, according to Wagstaffe, and was still alive when Alvarez walked up to May and fired two more bullets into him.

    Wagstaffe said he believes Alvarez fired the additional shots because he wanted to "finish him off."

    The family said they have never received an apology from Alvarez.

    May's partner, Shante Williams, now an officer in the San  Francisco Police Department, said he wishes Alvarez would acknowledge to them  what happened.

    "I hope he wakes up one day and says, 'I owe this family an  apology,'" Williams said.

    "He hasn't shown any remorse," Diana May said. "He had the  chance," she added, referring to his testimony in the trial.

    The penalty phase of the trial, in which the same jury will decide  whether to recommend death for Alvarez, begins Dec. 7 and could last several  weeks. During that phase, family members from both sides will be allowed to  address the court.

    At minimum, Alvarez will be sentenced to life in prison without  the possibility of parole.

    "He will spend the remainder of his life in prison," Wagstaffe  said.

    Bay City News