The San Mateo County District Attorney's Office formally announced today (Thursday) it will seek the death penalty in the case of a man charged with fatally shooting an East Palo Alto police officer in 2006.
If Alberto Alvarez, 24, is found guilty of "deliberate, premeditated murder" he will face the death penalty, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. Alvarez is accused of shooting 38-year-old Officer Richard May on Jan. 7, 2006.
Alvarez will go to trial in December and, if found guilty of first-degree murder, the jury will deliberate whether he should receive the death penalty.
Prosecutors believe Alvarez executed May after the officer responded to reports of a fight at a restaurant. Alvarez was found a short time later, hiding in the area of Weeks Street and University Avenue, according to East Palo Alto police.
A grand jury indicted Alvarez on Aug. 25, 2006, and the transcript from the jury was ordered sealed after defense attorneys argued that inflammatory material in the transcript could prejudice a jury, Wagstaffe said.
An attorney for the San Jose Mercury News had argued for the release of the transcript.
A jury trial for Alvarez is scheduled to begin Dec. 1. He remains in jail on no-bail status.