When the verdict was read shortly after noon, Alvarez showed no emotion as he sat in his chair flanked by attorneys and bailiffs.
Train-crash victims’ family members quietly hugged one another, some with weary smiles that reflected the long road from Jan. 26, 2005 — when Metrolink train No. 100 derailed after hitting Alvarez’s Jeep Cherokee, which was parked on the tracks near Chevy Chase Drive, crashing into a parked Union Pacific Car and another oncoming Metrolink commuter train.
“I’m just happy this part is all over,” said a teary Tony Tutino, whose brother James was killed aboard train No. 100. “I’m happy with the verdict, but I’m eagerly awaiting the penalty phase. There is still more work to be done.”
Defense attorneys, highlighted by five days of testimony from Alvarez, maintained their client was suicidal and that the incident was an unexpected tragedy.
During his testimony on May 27, a remorseful Alvarez said he had no intention of killing anyone other than himself when he parked his Jeep on the train tracks shortly before 6 a.m.
Alvarez told jurors he was fighting an addiction to methamphetamine and, as a result of the drugs, deluded himself into believing his wife was cheating on him. He said he decided to kill himself on Jan. 26, 2005, partially as a result of a hallucination he had that morning, when he imagined his wife taunting him with her lover from the back of his SUV.
Alvarez testified that he poured gasoline on himself and on his Jeep before he changed his mind and jumped from his SUV minutes before the Metrolink train, heading from Glendale to downtown Los Angeles at 79 mph, struck.