Sergio Alvarez sat quietly, rubbing his hands together during the reading of the jurors’ verdicts on what was left to decide yesterday. In the remaining counts charged, Alvarez would be found guilty on 17 more, each in regard to its victim.
One by one, Judge Timothy Fall would read the charges pertaining to each victim. For the first victim, victim No. 1, there was a charge of aggravated kidnap, rape against the will, oral copulation against the will, sexual penetration against the will and another charge of all being while under duress.
Alvarez would also be found guilty of committing these crimes by use of threat, abuse of power and while on duty as an officer.
For the second, third, fourth and fifth victims, all of the same charges were filed against Alvarez and the jury would find him guilty as well on each charge and its enhancement.
The jurors would also find the special circumstances, tied to some of the counts against a couple of the victims, to be true: that is, putting the victim at substantial physical risk and harm, and each victim being one of multiple victims.
Alvarez showed no emotion other than the rubbing of his hands. In the courtroom listening to the verdict were some of his family members, and no emotional reaction was shown by any one of them either.
After the jurors were released, a few of them spoke about how they felt from the very beginning that Alvarez was a predator and chose these women because of the lifestyles they led.
One juror stated, “I am so glad these women had the courage to speak up and by the grace of God, he was caught.” Another juror told the Vanguard that he needed to decompress after this lengthy trial but always believed the testimony of the victims. He said he felt sorry for them and what they had to go through.
When asked why it took the jurors so long to deliberate, one female juror told the Vanguard, “It was because of a few other jurors who changed their minds daily, and could not comprehend the charges; we never knew what they were really thinking and it was difficult to get them to reach the verdict because of the unsavory lifestyle of the victims in this case, and how they were not sure they could believe their story, but it was clear from the very beginning the man was guilty.”
The Yolo County District Attorney’s office held a press conference on the Alvarez verdict.
In the statement to the press, DA Jeff Reisig stated, “We will be asking he spend the rest of his life in prison, he took vulnerable victims and the betrayal was horrific.” He stated, “I would like to thank the Sacramento Police Department who was a key investigator in this case, along with the DOJ [Department of Justice] and the FBI. I would also like to thank the jurors for their part.”
Chief Tom McDonald of the West Sacramento Police Department stated, “Alvarez’s actions were reprehensible.” He stated that Alvarez’s actions do not reflect the integrity of the police department. He thanked all the investigators and DA Jeff Reisig, as well as the DOJ and the FBI, for their individual parts in this case.
McDonald also stated, “I want to thank the jurors and I really appreciate their time.”
In open questions, the Vanguard asked Deputy DA Garrett Hamilton, “In looking back, during trial and your cross-examination of Sergio Alvarez, is there anything you would have done differently, given the fact the jurors were hung on ten of the counts against Alvarez?” Garret Hamilton replied, “You know there are always things when you go back and reflect on them that you could have done differently but the jurors still convicted.”
Another question asked by the Vanguard to Deputy DA Hamilton: “Do you think it hurt your case to put a victim on the stand who testified to ‘not being a victim?'” He replied, “No, in fact, the jury still convicted on those counts, and I believe the jurors did the best they could.”
Other press questions were more geared toward how this case has affected the West Sacramento community and what, if any, would change in policy for police officers and/or their departments.
Chief McDonald stated they will make sure things are more closely monitored and policy is followed by every officer.
In one of the Vanguard‘s questions to the Chief, it was asked if he had any prior knowledge of Alvarez’s involvement with other women while on duty before the first victim came forward. He stated, “I cannot talk about that right now as we are looking into this still but I assure you that this does offend me and our department to know one of our officers committed these crimes, but I promise you, we will be looking more intently into the background of this case and why it happened. I do know we will be more careful too, in the process of hiring on new officers.”
Another question to McDonald was if, when hiring new officers, they are given an extensive psychiatric evaluation, and he stated, “Yes, but things can happen and we just can’t answer what or why right now, that could have caused Alvarez to commit these crimes.”
He stated, “During the hiring process, we do an extensive background check and evaluation of new prospective officers but once in a while, something can go undetected, and we want to catch that early on so something like this does not happen.”
McDonald stated, “It is offensive to me and to our department for something like this to happen but, again, it does not reflect the integrity of several other officers. There are a lot of us connecting with the public more closely to ensure their trust in our department and we will do the best we can in making it better.”
Chief McDonald also told the Vanguard that he is a resident of the West Sacramento area and has been involved with getting to know the community better, himself, on a personal basis.
He stated that he has spoken to a lot of people in the West Sacramento area and feels that, for the most part, they still feel a sense of trust and safety from the police officers patrolling their area. But he said he knows there are some who feel betrayed and, for those, he and other officers will do what they can to restore the public trust in the law enforcement of West Sacramento.
Sentencing for Sergio Alvarez will be on April 4, 2014.