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Woman Gets Life Sentence for Role in 4 Slayings

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

After being sentenced to life in prison without parole for her role in four murders, Trinia Aguirre, the ex-girlfriend of convicted killer David “Spooky” Alvarez, told relatives: “Take care of my children.”

She was sentenced on four counts of murder with special circumstances for helping Alvarez in the shooting and stabbing of two children, their uncle and a gardener during a 1996 rampage in Baldwin Park.

Despite an impassioned plea by her defense attorney that Aguirre get a chance for parole, Judge Florence-Marie Cooper said the 23-year-old woman must take responsibility for her actions.

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“Looking at her, one could never imagine she was one who could commit atrocious crimes,” the judge said. “But truth is stranger than fiction.”

Escorted by sheriff’s deputies, the shackled Aguirre told her sisters and grandmother as she was taken away: “Cuiden a mis ninos,” her plea in Spanish for the care of her children, ages 3 and 5.

Before the judge sentenced Aguirre, Deputy Public Defender Rita Smith told the judge that she would never want to minimize the severity of the crimes committed by Alvarez and Aguirre, but wanted to show that her client had an exemplary past before the killings.

“It was a horrible tragedy that a lovely young woman, hard-working, beautiful, single mother with no criminal record had to get dragged into this thing by David Alvarez, who conceived of this hideous plot,” Smith said.

But Deputy Dist. Atty. Patrick Dixon argued that, despite Aguirre’s arrest-free record before the Sept. 29, 1996, murders, she played a key role in the massacre by knocking on the door at the house of Alvarez’s ex-wife and asking to use the phone for feigned car troubles.

Once inside, according to court records, she pulled a handgun and opened the door for Alvarez. He pushed the family members into a den, where they were tied up.

Alvarez went to the Baldwin Park home to kill his ex-wife, according to prosecutors. She was not at the house, but relatives and visitors were.

After Alvarez and Aguirre entered the house, authorities said, she turned up the television to mask the screams of the victims. Killed were Evelyn and Massiel Torres, 8 and 12, respectively; their uncle, Roberto Diaz, 32; and Jose Rojas, 33, a gardener who unwittingly showed up at the door asking for a drink of water while the grisly event was taking place.

Pete Torres, the father of Evelyn and Massiel, survived the attack, as did Celia Diaz and Martha Diaz, Roberto’s wife.

Almost a year after the killings, Alvarez was arrested by Mexican authorities in Tijuana. Mexico refused to extradite him unless Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti agreed not to seek the death penalty, which is not recognized there. Garcetti refused to agree to that condition.

Alvarez, a U.S. citizen, was convicted and sentenced in Mexico to 90 years for the killings of Diaz and Rojas, who were Mexican nationals. He awaits trial for a slaying he allegedly committed while in a Mexico City prison.


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