Jury selection begins Monday in the trial of a 25-year-old man charged with the fatal shooting of East Palo Alto police Officer Richard May in 2006, a deputy district attorney said today.Prosecutors in San Mateo County Superior Court are seeking the death penalty against Alberto Alvarez, a parolee accused of shooting May four times — including a fatal shot to the head — while being chased from a restaurant Jan. 7, 2006, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.Alvarez had apparently been involved in a fight at the East Palo Alto restaurant when May responded to the owner’s report of a disturbance around 4:30 p.m., Wagstaffe said.When officers attempted to stop the fight, Alvarez ran away and May chased him, according to Wagstaffe.May was able to corner Alvarez a block and a half from the restaurant. May, however, did not know Alvarez was carrying a gun in his pocket, Wagstaffe said.”It was when the officer cornered him in front of a house that he took out his gun and shot him to death,” Wagstaffe said.Alvarez allegedly fired six shots and May was struck four times. May managed to fire one shot at Alvarez, which struck him in the leg, according to Wagstaffe.May died at the scene.Alvarez then fled the area and “an enormous police search was conducted,” Wagstaffe said.He was arrested at about 6 a.m. the next day while trying to make his way through a police perimeter by hiding in the backseat of a friend’s car, according to Wagstaffe.Alvarez has since pleaded not guilty to the charge. His defense attorney Eric Liberman declined to go into details of the defense’s argument today but said he doesn’t believe Alvarez should be charged with first-degree murder.”We don’t think the evidence is going to show this is a ‘Who done it?’ but more of a ‘What happened?’,” Liberman said. “We do not believe that the officer was acting in the course and scope of his duty.”He added, “We don’t believe the facts are going to show this is a case justified for the death penalty.”Alvarez has been in jail without bail since his arrest. His trial is expected to begin in early May, Wagstaffe said.
Copyright © 2009 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse
without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited