LOS ANGELES — Defense attorneys told jurors on Thursday they should not sentence Juan Manuel Alvarez to death, owing mostly to the rabid abuse he experienced as a child and remorse he showed after the incident, exemplified by a phone message that he left for his cousin shortly after the 2005 train wreck.
In a brief message played during the penalty phase in the Los Angeles Superior Court room, a sobbing Alvarez, now 29, told Beto Alvarez: “I didn’t mean to do this, Beto. A lot of innocent people died. I don’t deserve to live, Beto. I apologize for everything.” The recording was made at 6:17 a.m. on Jan. 26, 2005, minutes after the train derailment.
Also on the message, Alvarez told the landlady of his Atwater Village apartment that he wanted to die.
Alvarez was found guilty June 26 for parking his sport utility vehicle on a set of train tracks near Glendale’s Chevy Chase crossing, leading to the catastrophic Metrolink derailment that killed 10 passengers as well as one train conductor and injured more than 180 people.