LOS ANGELES — Emotionally charged testimony by co-workers and family members of victims who died in a 2005 Metrolink train crash marked the first day of the penalty phase against Juan Manuel Alvarez on Monday, highlighted by tearful jurors and loud weeping from those sitting in the packed courtroom.
Alvarez, 29, was convicted of 11 counts of first-degree murder and one count of arson on June 26 for his role in the Jan. 26, 2005, Metrolink derailment that injured 184 crew members and passengers. Officials said the incident was one of the worst train crashes in history.
Jurors must now choose between sentencing Alvarez to life in prison without the possibility of parole, or to death, which Deputy Dist. Atty. Cathryn Brougham said was the proper punishment.