General Crime

*Robert Altes of Brentwood Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Killing Pablo Gutierrez

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A Brentwood man was sentenced today to 40 years to life in prison for fatally shooting a tenant on his family’s property in 2006. Robert Altes, 51, was convicted of second-degree murder with an enhancement for the use of a gun for killing 23-year-old Pablo Gutierrez on July 9, 2006. The shooting happened on Altes’ family property near the intersection of Lone Tree Way and state Highway 4, where Altes lived with his elderly parents. Gutierrez had been staying in a small camper on the property, but didn’t pay any rent. According to attorneys on both sides, members of Altes’ family were angry with Gutierrez because they thought he was stealing tools from their shed and selling them to buy drugs. Gutierrez had been away for a few days, but returned to his camper on the afternoon of the shooting and Altes went to confront him, Prosecutor Lynn Uilkema said during trial. After the initial confrontation, Altes went back up to the house,grabbed a .22 caliber revolver, loaded it and then went back outside to confront Gutierrez a second time, Uilkema said. According to Altes’ attorney Thomas Fleming, Altes only put one bullet in the gun and tried to fire a warning shot at Gutierrez, but the gun didn’t go off. At some point Gutierrez allegedly grabbed a plastic BB gun used for shooting feral cats and tried to fire it at Altes, but that gun didn’t go off either. Gutierrez then allegedly attacked Altes and tried to hit him withthe BB gun and take his revolver, Fleming said. Fleming said Altes fired a single shot downward in self-defense, but the bullet hit an artery and eventually killed Gutierrez. He argued that Altes had a right to defend himself. Uilkema, however, argued that when Altes went back outside to confront Gutierrez a second time, he became the aggressor. At some point during the confrontation, Gutierrez was allegedly beaten, burned and dragged, Uilkema said. When police finally found him, his shirt was torn off, he was covered in sand and dirt and there were drag marks on his nose, shoulders and forehead. He also had a defensive wound on his hand and a cut and a burn on his head, Uilkema said. Gutierrez did not die immediately. He was still alive when Altes told two tenants who lived in a doublewide trailer on the property that he had shot Gutierrez, Uilkema said. One of tenants called Gutierrez’s friends and told them to come get him. When Gutierrez’s friends arrived, they saw Gutierrez on the ground writhing in pain while Altes sprayed him with water from a hose and told him to get up, Uilkema said. Fleming claimed that Altes was spraying Gutierrez in an effort to revive him. Gutierrez’s friends didn’t want to call police because they had criminal cases of their own and didn’t want to get involved, but Altes allegedly told them if they didn’t take him off the property he would dump him in the Delta, Uilkema said. He later claimed that he had meant Sutter Delta, the nearest hospital, Uilkema said. Eventually the group agreed that they would call an ambulance and have it come to the Valero gas station on Lone Tree Way to pick up Gutierrez. Altes allegedly agreed to bring Gutierrez to the gas station and Gutierrez’s friends left to meet the ambulance. Altes put Gutierrez into the back of a van and then went into Gutierrez’s trailer, gathered up all his belongings and put them in the van on top of Gutierrez, Uilkema said. After that, he put air in the van’s two flat tires and went in the house to borrow gas money from his mother. Meanwhile, the ambulance came and left and still Altes hadn’t shown up with Gutierrez. When he finally left, Altes allegedly drove past the Valero station where Gutierrez’s friends were waiting and went to a different gas station to buy cigarettes and put gas in the van. A Brentwood police officer flagged Altes down as he drove past the Valero station a second time, Uilkema said. When police searched the van, they found Gutierrez dead in the back. Fleming said that Altes had been on his way to the hospital when the police stopped him, but Uilkema said Altes’ actions were completely inconsistent with someone trying to save Gutierrez’s life. During the sentencing hearing today in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez, Uilkema read from a letter written by Gutierrez’ parents. His parents wrote that they hadn’t found out until the trial that their son had not only been shot, but that he had been dragged and beaten and left to die. The details of his killing made accepting his death even more difficult, the letter said. The letter also said that it wasn’t until they heard the evidence in the case that they learned of the many steps Altes could have taken to save their son, but didn’t. They said they felt Altes’ actions showed no remorse and no regard for Gutierrez’s life. “I just want to say how much I hate Robert Altes,” Gutierrez’s older brother Izzie Cordero said. “How much I hate what he did, how much I hate who he is … how much I just really hate the way he looks.” “Given all the pain that you caused us, I want to tell you I hope you rot in prison, but I can’t wish that on anyone,” Cordero told Altes. He told Altes’ family that he realized they were also coping with a loss and recognized that Altes was their son and a brother. Uilkema said that from the moment Altes killed Gutierrez until today she hadn’t seen any sign of remorse for what he had done.Other friends and family members of Gutierrez said they remembered him for his good sense of humor and his contagious laugh. He was a loving father to his son, who will turn 5 years old this month. “Pablo was not perfect. We all make mistakes. He made a few, but he was a good boy. He was a very good boy,” Gutierrez’s aunt Elsa Cordero-Redman said. “His son now has to grow up without a dad and that’s hard for a child,” Cordero-Redman said. Altes’ older brother Roy Mefford said he felt for Gutierrez’s family and has no doubt Gutierrez was a good person. The decisions the two men made that day “cost Pablo his life and it’s going to cost Bob what amounts to the rest of his life,” Mefford said. “I wish we could turn it back and reverse it.” He said that although Altes didn’t show remorse, he was sure hefelt it inside. “If you’ve known him as long as I have, you’d know Bob is not a cold-hearted person,” Mefford said. Denise Sandoval, a friend who has known Altes for 12 years, saidhe had always been the type of person who would stop and help someone if he saw them broken down on the side of the road. “I don’t think Bobby would do what he did unless he was provoked,” Sandoval said. Altes said he did not wish to speak during the sentencing. 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.

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  • pablo it’s been 3 years today since you were taken from us. you are always in my thoughts and prayers i love and miss you.

  • Hello All,

    From the deepest inner part of our hearts and soul we thank each, and everyone for their kind and warmest words. Pablo our Son is gone but he still lives among us in our hearts, in our thoughts, in our conversations, but mostly in our prayers. It has and always will be difficult for all of us to remember his presence and yet not be able to speak, visit, or even share our family/friends gatherings with him however, were confident he is appreciative of the fact that he is well loved as a Son, Friend, and father. Pablo always referred to me not as his stepfather but as his Dad. I remember once he visited Mexico and someone told him “hey there goes your father, and Pablo’s response to that comment was my father lives in California”
    I could never forget those words from my Son. I know Pablo and I had our arguments and disagreements as normal Father and Son would, but never to the extent where he disrespected or was violent in any way shape or form. I get up each morning and he’s either on thoughts throughout the day or at night before I go to bed. This has been the most unbearable tragedy that has ever occurred in our live’s, and it will continue for a very long time but, we do find comfort knowing, were not the only one’s feeling that way, Pablo’s death has also affected many others. From Gloria and I thank you all for your continual support and gratitude towards our beloved Son Pablo. May he be blessed and comforted with Gods love and grace. May he also, find peace and rest and be remembered always.

    Also, I would like to take this opportunity now to thank, Lynn Uilkema who did a fantastic job representing Pablo, and who also took to heart our pain and suffering during and after the trial. Shannon Mahoney Thank you, for keeping us up to date at all times.

  • The trial is over and as we all hoped, justice did prevail for Pabo. I must say that Pablo would have been proud of the way we supported one another and saw each other through all of this.

    He deserved the unity and love for that is what Pablo was all about.

    Pablo. came into our family when he was 5 years old. We took him to our heart immediately and love him so. He did the same. Pablo was loved as well by friends and neighbors, their homes were always open to him they seem to enjoyed his company and loved being around him.

    As a little boy he was kind, tender, loving, soft spoken, gentle, well mannered, somewhat shy, and very… cute… the girls knew that.
    That was Pablo as a child.

    As a young man he was basically the same; tender, loving, kind, shy, gentle, and yes… very well manner. Those quality’s about him never changed.

    I can honestly; God knows this is true; never, ever saw Pablo upset at anyone, angry at anyone, and absolutely never violent with anyone.
    He would have been a good roll model to his loving Christian.

    I’m proud to have been Pablo’s aunt, and I will tell you why… In the instance Pablo had survived and Mr. Altes, had come to him in true remorse and said Pablo I’m so sorry, will you forgive me? Pablo would had forgiven him; for you see,,, of all the qualities I mention about him I forgot one… a very important one… resentment. You that knew him know that to be true.

    A tear, a smile, a simple I’m sorry or just a hug was enough for Pablo to drop the matter and say it’s Ok don’t worry about it… That was Pablo… kindness at heart.

    He was loved and he will be missed.


    To all of you that were there in the court house today for the sentencing. Your presence and support was so very much appreciated by all the family.

    To everyone that took time to speak on behalf of Pablo today, thank you for shearing the persona of Pablo to those that didn’t know him, nor his kind ways.
    Tonya, a special thanks to you.; not only for your support but also for being there at all times for Pablo, form the time it started to the very end. May the Lord Bless you and your family for all the sacrificial time, effort and love you have shown through all this mess.
    I know that Pablo would have a big smile on his face and a humble gratitude of thanks in his heart, so… form his heart and mine Thank You.
    To all the other friends I don’t know by name but were there for Pablo in time of need and through all of this thank you for your true friendship to Pablo.
    Carol, special thanks to you for your wonderful comments today. Pablo would have been pleased with that unforgettable smile of his on his face.
    He loved Christian very much, I think that it would be fair to say that his son was the sunshine of his life, so I know that he would be in gratitude of the loving care you and you family have given his son; the son he will never see grow-up to be a man.
    May God Bless You and your family for your support, love and testimonies during the time of trial I know that it was hard for you and your family… Thank you.
    God Bless You all and keep you all safe in His care.
    I would like to take this opportunity to encourage those that read with a wonderful advice form the book of Psalms and Romans, which tells us to…
    Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalms 34:14…
    Be not over come of evil, but overcome evil, with good. Romans 12:21
    Love and Prayers

  • Since I could not be present for Mr. Altes’ sentencing I would like to take this opportunity to share my thoughts and express my feelings regarding Pablo’s death.

    Upon hearing we had lost one of our family members most thought someone was playing a terrible joke, but then reality quickly set in as we saw each other face to face for we knew only then it was not a joke. Being faced with the reality of Pablo’s death we could not understand why someone would kill Pablo and of course who could do such a thing. Even after we all learned the answer as to who had killed Pablo the question why will always remain for in our minds the answer could never be explained nor justified. Mr. Altes, you can never begin to comprehend just exactly how angry we all are by your actions. We miss Pablo dearly. However, our anger and hate for what you have done will not bring him back. The fact is you are still a human being. Your family whom I’m sure have also suffered through this whole ordeal does not deserve to hear such harsh words towards you. As difficult as that will be I will refrain from making any negative or cruel statements that my offend or hurt them any further. I just wish you would have had the same consideration for our family on the day of July 9th 2006 as we do for yours now.

    The most heartbreaking thing is when I visit Pablo’s gravesite and the first thing I remember is the tragic way in which he lost his life because it was so sudden, so violent and then only after that am I able to remember his smile, his eyes and his tall slender build.

    Mr. Altes my only hope now since you have been found guilty of murder is for you to sit back and think about how many people you hurt when you decided to take the law into your own hands. Your actions were extreme and now you must pay the consequences. Just be thankful your family can still visit with you. They can write and send you cards, they can hear your voice when you call. You will never be alone. We on the other hand will never be able to visit, see or share our yearly family reunion with Pablo. We will never hear is voice. That emptiness and longing to see Pablo one last time will forever remain in our hearts.


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