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Judge Monday decrees life or death for Alvarez

Original post made on Feb 7, 2010

A San Mateo County Superior Court judge will announce his decision Monday morning whether a 26-year-old man who murdered East Palo Alto police Officer Richard May in 2006 will receive the death penalty or life in prison without the chance for parole.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, February 7, 2010, 4:33 PM

Comments (28)

Posted by Mr. Fischer
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 7, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Judge Parsons is a rehabilitation judge,...he has changed many lives,but, in this case I really don't know. That is why he is,..... "JUDGE PARSONS". With his experience I respect his choice. Although every man needs prayer,..I'm praying for both "Peace Officer Richard May",... and the good side of "alverez".

Posted by Big Al
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2010 at 11:24 am

show that killing is unacceptable by killing...
show that murder is wrong by murdering...
waste tax dollars on numerous appeals by death penalty...
does it make people feel safer knowing that the state
of California will murder this man?
life in prison with no parole....
costs less...and the state doesn't have to stoop to
the level of the crime that this guy committed...
what a waste...
killing this man will not bring the officer back to his
only makes us all look like accessories to state sponsored

Posted by private
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 8, 2010 at 12:11 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Sad
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 8, 2010 at 12:16 pm

This is not justice.

Posted by Father McDonald
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 8, 2010 at 2:09 pm

As much as I would like to see this jerk suffer for his crimes. It is a appalling that our country still imposes the death penalty. Most of the worlds civilized and prospering countries, don't have a death penalty.
Here is a list of countries that do and don't
Web Link

Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 8, 2010 at 3:24 pm

While I am personally opposed to the death penalty, I certainly understand its use as an instrument of justice.

Still, I think that there are enough questions about the ability of our nation's legal system (and ANY legal system) to correctly determine guilt or innocence to merit a rethinking of this method of disposing of convicted criminals. If it is used, I suppose that it should be used only on individuals who have admitted to the most heinous of crimes.

This man (Alvarez) murdered this peace officer. As such, Alvarez deserves to pay for the crime that he committed. However, I'm not sure if an easy death by lethal injection would truly bring a sense of justice to the family of the man that Alvarez murdered.

After all, there are worse things than the death penalty. If Alvarez has even a little bit of a conscience left, he will have to live with the knowledge that he killed an innocent man in cold blood. Unfortunately, there are so many deviant individuals in this day and age who have a conscience that is seared with evil intent and selfishness.

My prayers are with the family of Richard May, the officer who was gunned down by this ruthless man. I pray that they find some sort of closure with the decisions of the judge and jury.

Posted by Don G.
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 8, 2010 at 3:33 pm

I'm surprised why more people do not support the death penalty. To equate the execution of a police officer and the carrying out of death penalty laws in this state is grossly naive. There have probably been cases where innocent people have suffered the death penalty.

In this case, there were witnesses to the actual shooting and no other circumstances or argument can deny what took place. If Judge Parsons is more of a "rehabilitation judge" as Mr. Fisher notes in his post above, and still decides to sentence the murderer to death, I agree with his decision AND the jury's decision.

Posted by More Jails
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 8, 2010 at 4:50 pm

For those who oppose the death penalty... where should we put the massive numbers of people who SHOULD be in jail, but who are not, because of overcrowding? It's interesting to me that most people who are opposed to the death penalty are also opposed to building more jails. It takes money - and higher taxes - to build more jails - and if you're really interested in rehabilitation (kind of naive, if you know anything about why people commit crimes), it takes a lot more to house an inmate for life than it does to educate a student for 16 years - A LOT MORE. So what do you propose??

Posted by grieving
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Thank God for Judge Parsons! He has determined that justice prevails, and that brutal, cold murder cannot be allowed. My prayers go out to the May family, to judge Parsons, and to the jury to be brave and honest with this trial.

Posted by Support PD
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 8, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Keyto...give me a break. Way back when, an eye for an eye. Today death for death.

Judge Parsons made the RIGHT decision. Thank goodness someone out there still has common sense.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 8, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Justice has been served. To those who say life without parole...why should this monster get a roof over his head, three meals a day, watch TV, workout, talk to others, enjoy the holidays. Ya, I know he is in prison, but be real, you see on these TV shows, what is going on in prison.

Posted by EndGame
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 8, 2010 at 7:08 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by WOW
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 8, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Sad that they feel its justice to kill a man for killing another. Contradicting themselves and what they believe in. Or is it justice because he was a police officer? He wasn't some ordinary guy with a family. He was a POLICE OFFICER doing his job to protect the city of East Palo Alto. RIGHT. "Innocent" people are killed every day and suspects are caught and not all are given the death penalty. Why? A number of reasons and still they don't know why prisons are overcrowded. It's also sad that someone left a comment saying that it takes less to educate a 16 year old than to put a man away for life. Are you saying we should kill every murderer because it will leave more space in prison and save you your tax pennies so that you can pay 7 bucks to cross a freak'n bridge? I'm truly lost for words. I heard a story about a guy who was shot in Utah for killing a police dog. He was simply shot for killing the dog. It was because he was a police officer, right? While all these other states are allowed to have puppy mills and hundreds of dogs are killed when they are no longer needed. Fair trial for Alvarez? Nah, a typical trial for a colored man defending himself. The evidence speaks for itself. Did they let the jury know all sides of May? Nah, not relevant they say. BUT Alvarez' past is what they chose to define him as a person. If they considered him a person. He was a cold blooded police killer and May was an outstanding police officer. So they say!

Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 8, 2010 at 7:45 pm

If we are going to have the death penalty it should apply to Treason, Terrorism, Killing a Police Officer under circumstances such as the Alvarez matter, and major dealing in Cocaine, Meth and Heroin.
AQ and other terrorist groups are now heavily involved in this lethal drug business with Latin American gangs.
For AQ drugs are a form of chemical warfare as far as they are concerned.
Such Latin American gangs are increasingly active in EPA.
The current, increasing link between AQ and major drug dealers is very disturbing, if you can smuggle drugs into the USA you can use the same methods to smuggle WMDs.

The death penalty, when applied, should be executed within 9 months of the sentence.

Posted by Ken
a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2010 at 9:20 pm

>The death penalty, when applied, should be executed within 9 months of the sentence.

And if a police officer or member of the judiciary makes an error which leads to an accused person being put to death incorrectly, then they, too, must be executed within 9 months of the discovery of the error, right?

And if someone else makes an error which leads to a police officer or member of the judiciary being put to death incorrectly, then they, too, must be executed within 9 months of the discovery of their error, right?

Posted by Enforcer
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 8, 2010 at 10:14 pm

yes all that should be true I mean it seems to work in China right? Who cares if some people get killed along the way as long as the system and communion works as a whole.

Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 8, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Hi EndGame,

Yes, I think that there are probably some ruthless people in Palo Alto too. Ruthlessness is not confined to East Palo Alto, Oakland or Richmond. It is found ANYWHERE that an individual would audaciously take it upon themselves to snuff out the life of another human being.

I would certainly pray for the family of ANY person that is murdered (regardless what socioeconomic background they come from). After all, compassion is still a virtue, and not a flaw. I think that we can all agree upon that.


Posted by Mr. Fischer
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 9, 2010 at 1:16 am

So let us pray for Mr. Alvarez,...I am against the death penalty. I myself could not bear the burden of murdering anyone. So for all you brave forum posts killers,..... you inject him!!!! I also know the "May Family",.. needs some type of satisfaction or closure. Here is a little scripture,....The lord GOD spoke and said once upon a time "vengence is mine". Sometimes we have to turn it over to God,...He is the alpha and the omega. I say define forgiveness. The issues in East Palo Alto are connected worldly to to the issues in Palo Alto. Man made the borders ,...."unfortunatley there are none",...the wrath of the devil is everywhere nothing to do with the people and what side of the creek they are on. These thoughts are to be held personally. If you share your opposition to the truth then satan will eventually become part of the conversation. Go ahead try it.

Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2010 at 5:02 am

The fact is that some Latin American gangs have declared war on civilized society and the police are in the front lines.

Look at the thousands slaughtered in Mexico every year by narco-terrorist gangs.

The links between such narco-terrorists and terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda are well documented by the WSJ, The Economist etc.

These terrorist linked Latin American gangs are active in EPA, Salinas and LA, they are rampant throughout the CA prison system.

Unless one is a pacifist and appeaser then the death penalty is required to win this war.

The legal executions should be swift for the sake of all concerned in this matter.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:31 am

Wow, I rarely agree w/Sharon, but she is correct about the local gang's larger connections.

I would have a tad more sympathy, perhaps, for Alvarez, except for this bottom line: he was a felon w/a gun.

Posted by Mr. Ironic
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:10 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by m2
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 9, 2010 at 11:34 am

i feel safer knowing a potentially racist cop is no longer on the streets. not that he is dead, thats no good to happen. but referring to a non white as evil reeks of spanish inquisition. glad to see mr. ironic has common sense. something lacking in too many people these days.

Posted by bick
a resident of University South
on Feb 9, 2010 at 11:44 am

In my view capital punishment is an appropriate sentence to be applied only in special cases. Serial killers, terrorists, and premeditated murderer of a peace officer qualifies as a special case in my book.

The injustice here is that the system is broken when it takes 20-30 years for a sentence to be executed. And the system is also broken when we see so many false convictions.

Posted by cieboy
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 9, 2010 at 11:53 am

I don't agree with More Jails- you forget to factor in the enormous cost of continuing to process through the system those on death row - long and expensive legal process it takes to actually finalize it. The nation should follow other countries that operate fine without Capital Punishment. We have the ability to put murderers in prison for life without parole. Building more prisons is not the solution. We should seek to address alternatives for all those people in our system that have caused victimless crimes...or send prisoners to other states that have excess capacity.

Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Hello Mr. Ironic,

Do you really think that this murderer, Alberto Alvarez, is a HERO in your "book?" I can't help but wonder what "book" it is that you are holding!

I am certainly glad that this man is off the streets after he purposely shot a cop three times (including in the face). While I personally don't agree with the death penalty under many circumstances, Alberto Alvarez certainly DESERVES what he is getting.

With all due respect to Father McDonald (and without sounding too overzealous with religious fervor), even Paul the Apostle stated that he would not have refused death at the hands of the Romans if he had truly done something unlawful that deserved it (Acts 25:11). In fact, governments and principalities are set up (according to the New Testament) by the will of God to "punish evildoers" (I Peter 2:13-14). I think that it is safe to conclude that Alberto Alvarez has done evil.

I have long wrestled with idea behind capital punishment. I suppose that my difficulty with the practice comes from a question about whether or not it is accurately dispensed against individuals who are truly guilty of the crimes for which they are accused. I also hold a sympathy for individuals who might seek redemption and forgiveness for the hideous things that they have done. However, I totally understand the need for justice (and a respect for the rule of law).

Alberto Alvarez is no hero. He is a villain. He killed a man in cold blood who was merely doing his job to keep people safe. There was no excuse (well, no good excuse) for what he did to Officer May. Officer May was the real hero.

While I pray for Officer May's family, I also pray for the family of Alberto Alvarez. They are suffering because of the horrendous actions of this man. Now, they will be forced to slowly suffer through the sluggish appeals process...until the sentence is carried out. Unfortunately, it is a lose-lose situation for everyone. However, this is only because of the actions of one man -- Alberto Alvarez.

Not only did Alvarez rob this Officer May of his life, he also robbed the May family of any semblance of normalcy. Alvarez also caused unimaginable grief and embarrassment to his own family. In addition, he has ended up costing a fortune to the taxpayers of the State of California.

I can't help but wonder if Alvarez feels any sorrow for anything other than himself.

Posted by Mr. Ironic
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2010 at 1:24 pm

@ Nayeli

I personally was beaten down to the ground by May and 2 of his cop buddies for mistaken identity, so save that bible talk for someone else.

Alverez never harmed me or my friends but May (the same guy whos job is to keep people safe?)beat me down for no reason. Why should I feel safe with cops like that armed and roaming the streets? He , May, told me and I quote "best thing for you to do is go home and forget this ever happened". Only god knows what I wanted to do to May after he beat me down FOR NO REASON!!!!!and guess what Im not the only guy he did that to.

Imagine getting beaten up in the middle of the street by a guy you cant touch cause he can shoot you and get away with it. Im a single dad, college educated, work everyday, tax paying citizen who has lived in EPA my whole life.

So yes Alvarez is a hero in my book and May is the villian.

Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Hi Mr. Ironic...

The "bible talk" was actually in response to Father McDonald's post.

As far as Officer May is concerned: I can't vouch for his character. I can question why you didn't contact the authorities if what you said really did happen. He jumped you for no reason? That is very strange. Regardless, your experience has little to do with Alberto Alvarez.

Alberto Alvarez gunned down a police officer. He didn't shoot him once and run. He gunned him down and then made certain that he was dead by shooting him in the face.

Alvarez is a villain. Perhaps your assertion is accurate about Officer May too. Maybe he was a villain in regard to your experience. However, Officer May was doing his job on that day. If May didn't try to arrest Alvarez, I would have hoped that someone else would have. Alvarez wasn't supposed to be loitering (someone ELSE called the police in the first place) and he wasn't supposed to have a firearm. He then used that firearm to kill an officer of the law.

If what you claim is accurate, did you call the police? Did you contact an attorney? Did you testify at Alvarez's trial?

Regardless, there is no indication (that I have seen or heard) that would signify that your circumstances were even remotely similar to this one. I am pleased that one repeat offender (Alvarez) is off the streets. I hope that he has quite a bit of remorse for killing a human being.

Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Feb 9, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Nora Charles is a registered user.

This man made a terrible choice and now he must pay the ultimate price. Fair enough. My heart goes out to Mrs. May and her family. Whenever I see police cars I always say a little prayer for the officers who face terrible dangers every working day.

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