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Teen admitted killing her mother and stepfather, prosecutor says

Justice SystemCrime, Law and JusticeHomicideHalloween

A 15-year-old girl told Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives that she killed her mother and stepfather, whose bodies were later found in shallow graves, a prosecutor told a Compton jury on Tuesday.

Cynthia Alvarez, now 16, used a baseball bat to help kill her stepfather and confessed to the crimes soon after neighbors reported the older couple missing on Oct. 18, 2011, Deputy Dist. Atty. Kristin Trutanich told jurors.

Authorities also found evidence that Alvarez and her boyfriend, Giovanni Gallardo, then 16, had made preparations after the killings to throw a Halloween party at her Compton home, Trutanich said during opening statements.

"They planned and executed the murders of those two individuals," Trutanich told jurors.

A jogger discovered the partially buried body of Alvarez's mother, Gloria Villalta, on Oct. 15, 2011, in a vacant lot off Norwalk Boulevard in Norwalk.

The 58-year-old victim's legs were tied, her hands bound behind her back and her head covered with a cloth and wrapped in duct tape, a homicide detective told jurors.

The body of the girl's stepfather, Jose Lara, 51, was found in a lot near Jordan High School in Long Beach.

Alvarez and Gallardo, now 17, are charged as adults and face sentences of life in prison if convicted of murder. Gallardo is expected to face trial soon.

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jack.leonard@latimes.com

Twitter: @jackfleonard

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