morning in a suicide attempt that caused a three-train wreck, which
killed 11 passengers and injured nearly 200. Alvarez allegedly jumped
out of his Jeep moments before a commuter train collided into the SUV
and then smashed into another train. Alvarez faces 11 counts of
murder with special circumstances, which allows prosecutors to seek
the death penalty, officials said.
Alvarez slashed his wrists and stabbed himself with scissors
before the train disaster, but his wounds were superficial, officials
said. Outside the courthouse Friday, defense attorney Eric A. Chase
called the public's reaction a "lynch mob mentality" and asked people
to "take a step back and think about the consequences of their
"This will be a very long process," Chase said. "It has only been
two days, and emotions are still running high."
Alvarez appeared to be remorseful when found by police, Chase
Alvarez has a criminal record for drug possession, and a
restraining order granted Dec. 14 forbids him to visit his estranged
wife or their two small children. His wife, Carmelita Alvarez, said
in the restraining order that he threatened to kill her family
members, accused her of making pornographic movies and suffered from
The arraignment was rescheduled for Feb. 15, said Deputy Dist.
Atty. Luis Alvarez, no relation to Juan Manuel Alvarez.
"The defense lawyer asked for an extension to talk to his client
and have his mental and emotional state evaluated by experts," Luis
* JACKSON BELL covers public safety and courts. He may be reached
at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.