A 17-year-old girl and her 18-year-old boyfriend, convicted last year of murdering the girl’s parents, were sentenced Friday to life in prison.
Cynthia Alvarez, who was 15 years old at the time of the October 2011 killings, was tried as an adult along with her boyfriend, Giovanni Gallardo, 16 at the time. Alvarez admitted on the stand that after the slayings they drove in her mother's Jeep Cherokee -- with her mother's decomposing corpse in the back -- to buy supplies for a
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ricardo R. Ocampo found that the slayings were vicious and sophisticated attacks on vulnerable victims. Under his sentence, Alvarez is eligible for parole after 51 years while Gallardo is not eligible for parole because of a law mandating tougher sentences for people older than 16 committing murder. Attorneys for both defendants said they planned to appeal.
Alvarez, reading from a written statement, told the court before the sentencing that she was scared of "doing life." She said that regretted her mistakes and that prosecutors were making her look like a monster. She argued at trial that her mother and stepfather were abusive.
"I just need to remember my past is my past," Alvarez said.
A niece of the stepfather and the stepfather's sister, speaking to the judge, denied allegations that the stepfather was abusive.