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Death Penalty

By: Tania Chatila | August 27, 2005
Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Juan Manuel Alvarez, accused of murdering 11 people in the January Metrolink train derailment, the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office announced in court Friday. A committee met Wednesday to go over the case, and the chairman of the committee, Kurt Hazell, made the final decision, said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office. "It's not a popular vote," she said. "But the committee discusses the case and the chairman makes the final decision."
January 6, 2007
T he Vatican and some Italian government officials have criticized the execution of Saddam Hussein for crimes against humanity on the grounds that the death penalty is morally wrong. Others, like President George W. Bush, say the justice dispensed to the former dictator was the result of a fair trial after years of Hussein's brutal rule. Executing Hussein is an important milestone in creating democracy in Iraq and working to defeat terrorism. What do you think? The state has not only the right but the obligation to keep the peace.
December 2, 1999
Paul M. Anderson GLENDALE -- Prosecutors will announce next week whether they will keep pursuing the death penalty for a Glendale man convicted of killing his wife and six children in 1996. Jorjik Avanesian was convicted in July of setting his apartment on fire and killing his wife, Turan, and their six children, Roobina, 17; Rita, 16; Ranica, 9; Rodrik, 8; Romik, 6; and Roland, 4. But a jury deadlocked 6-6 on whether to recommend the death penalty.
January 28, 2005
Jackson Bell The 25-year-old man accused of causing a commuter train wreck that killed 11 and injured more than 180 Wednesday will face murder charges, prosecutors said, but his first court appearance was delayed Thursday for medical reasons. Juan Manuel Alvarez of Compton parked his Jeep Cherokee on the train tracks near Chevy Chase Drive in an apparent suicide attempt early Wednesday morning but changed his mind and left the SUV on the track, police said.
By: | September 1, 2005
Efforts to appoint a new lawyer for Juan Manuel Alvarez, accused of 11 counts of murder in connection with the January Metrolink train derailment, were postponed Wednesday until Sept. 27, according to a Los Angeles court clerk. Prosecutors announced Friday that they would seek the death penalty against the 25-year-old construction worker from Compton, who is also charged with arson. Alvarez allegedly parked his 1993 Jeep Cherokee on the train tracks near Chevy Chase Drive and doused it with gasoline, causing the three-train wreck Jan. 26 that killed 11 people and injured nearly 200 others.
February 26, 2000
Paul M. Anderson GLENDALE -- The mother and brother of Jeanette Cohen will try to persuade a Superior Court judge to not let her alleged murderer escape the death penalty. Cohen's mother, Yolanda Roeber; her son, Ron Cohen; and her husband, Devon Roeber, planned to write a letter to L.A. Superior Court Judge James M. Ideman today, asking him not to throw out allegations that Anthony Roy Shivers tortured Jeanette Cohen. Ideman said Thursday he planned to grant a motion by Shivers' defense attorney throwing out the torture allegation because prosecutors hadn't proved their case.
December 8, 1999
Paul M. Anderson PASADENA -- Prosecutors were expected to announce Tuesday whether they would continue seeking the death penalty for a Glendale man convicted of killing his wife and six children in 1996. But the Pasadena Court hearing was rescheduled to Dec. 16 as prosecutors continue deciding whether to seek the ultimate punishment for Jorjik Avanesian. "We haven't made a final decision on whether or not we're going to retry on the penalty phase so (Tuesday's hearing)
By CHARLES UNGER | December 30, 2005
There is a ruling that disturbs me. I think that it blurs the line between church and state. Let me begin by saying that Stevie Lamar Fields should never see the light of day again. In 1978 he was convicted of murder, kidnapping, rape and robbery. What makes matters worse is the fact that he committed these crimes shortly after he was released from prison where he had been serving time for another unrelated homicide. The good news is that Fields was convicted of these crimes. The problem is whether he should have been given life in prison or the death penalty.
May 20, 2005
1981: Former California Gov. Ronald Reagan becomes the 40th U.S. president 1983: Glendale resident Angelo Buono, the so-called Hillside Strangler, is sentenced to life in prison 1985: Mitchell Sims, a disgruntled former Domino's Pizza employee from South Carolina, kills a pizza deliveryman; Sims is sentenced to the death penalty in September 1987 1986: Larry Zarian is the first Armenian elected mayor of Glendale ...
November 16, 2012
Proposition 34, if passed, would have replaced the death penalty with life in prison without parole and saved California $130 million a year by eliminating appeals, while keeping killers behind bars. It also would have ensured that an innocent person was never executed. My mom and I attended a symposium where we listened to the testimonies of men who were wrongfully convicted of murder. Frankie Carillo, who at my same age was sentenced to life, amazed me with his inner peace after 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
By Michael Teahan | October 9, 2011
There is a compelling theory of memory that if you want to remember something for a while, you must be reminded of it right about the time your mind is about to forget it. Considering this nation's news cycles and short attention span, now is about the time we may be forgetting that we very likely executed a man for a crime he didn't commit in Georgia and came just days away from executing Duane Buck in Texas because he is African American....
By CHARLES UNGER | November 7, 2008
I guess you can’t blame the guy for trying. Someone sentenced to death generally does not want to die, and I have seen all sorts of creative appeals in an attempt to get around the death penalty sentence. Perhaps the most creative of all was recently put forth by Cincinnati inmate Richard Cooey, whose claim was that he was too overweight to be executed. In the state of Ohio, lethal injection is used to terminate life. Cooey was 5-foot-7, 265 pounds. He was also a double murderer.
By Jeremy Oberstein | July 11, 2008
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.
By Jeremy Oberstein | July 8, 2008
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.
By Jeremy Oberstein | April 15, 2008
LOS ANGELES — Nearly 50 potential jurors were dismissed Monday as the trial nears for Juan Manuel Alvarez, who faces capital murder charges for the 2005 Metrolink derailment that killed 11 and injured nearly 200 others. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William R. Pounders excused many would-be jurors, citing answers they gave on a questionnaire as potential conflicts of interest. The 23-page questionnaire was meant to elicit individuals’ opinions of the death penalty, knowledge of the case or other factors that might have complicated their ability to impartially render a verdict.
By Jeremy Oberstein | April 4, 2008
GLENDALE — A judge on Thursday refused to dismiss charges against 29-year-old Juan Manuel Alvarez, who is accused of causing a 2005 Metrolink derailment that killed 11 people and injured nearly 200 others. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David S. Wesley rebuffed defense attorneys’ claims that not enough evidence had been given to the court at a May 2005 pretrial hearing where Alvarez was ordered to stand trial. Alvarez was charged with 11 counts of murder with special circumstances and one count each of arson and train wrecking.
By Ryan Vaillancourt | March 8, 2008
LOS ANGELES — Two weeks after skipping a pretrial hearing, the man facing the death penalty for allegedly causing the worst train wreck in Metrolink history appeared in court Friday as attorneys continued the discovery process. Juan Manuel Alvarez is charged with arson and 11 counts of murder with special circumstances for allegedly parking his Jeep Cherokee on Glendale train tracks in Jan. 26, 2005, and causing the crash that killed 11 people and left nearly 200 others injured.
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