Teen Girl Killed Parents, Then Shopped for Party Supplies With Mom's Body in The Car
A teenaged girl is facing 51 years to life in prison after being convicted today of the first-degree murders of her mom and stepdad, which took place inside the family's mobile home in 2011.16-year-old Cynthia Alvarez, allegedly with the help of her boyfriend, killed Gloria Villalta, 58, and Jose Lara, 51, sometime between October 13 and October 15, 2011, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Alvarez was 15 at the time, and her boyfriend, Giovanni Gallardo, was 16. Gallarado, now 18, is being tried separately; his trial gets underway Monday.
Jurors deliberated about three hours before returning the guilty verdict on two charges of first-degree murder. They also found the special circumstances of lying in wait and multiple murders to be true, said Deputy District Attorney Kristin Trutanich.
The teenaged couple waited for Alvarez' mother to return home from work, then attacked and strangled her. They stashed the body in the storage room, then waited fro Alvarez' stepfather to get home. When he got there, the teens beat the man with a baseball bat then stabbed him 11 times.
Alvarez and Gallardo put the bodies in a car, and that night disposed of Lara's remains in a shallow grave. Alvarez testified she and her boyfriend took a detour to stop to shop for Halloween party supplies before ditching her mother's body elsewhere in a shallow grave two days later.
Reports of the gruesome testimony indicate Alvarez may have been trying to deflect the blame on Gallardo, and her attorney hoping to prove Alvarez "was suffering a dissociative, or psychologically detached episode, due to prior trauma," however the prosecutor's questioning poked holes in that defense.
Sentencing is slated for June. The death penalty was off the table because of Alvarez' age at the time of the killings.