Jury Sent Out to Deliberate in Trial of Man Accused of Murdering Wife

By Julia Urquizo

RIVERSIDE, CA – The jury here in Riverside County Superior Court Tuesday was sent out to decide the fate of Juan Carlos Lopez Alvarado, who is on trial for the first degree murder of his wife in 2019 after her body was discovered in her mother’s hometown of Pueblo Nuevo, Mexico.

Lopez Alvarado was married to the victim for 25 years and shared three children with her.

Despite largely circumstantial evidence, Deputy District Attorney Karrie Brusselback noted in her closing argument the reasonable conclusions the jury should draw.

On Dec. 24, 2018, the DDA argued, Lopez Alvarado found his wife in a car with another man. He jumped out of his vehicle and allegedly grabbed the man by the collar, threatening to kill his wife and the man.

Lopez Alvarado denied knowing anybody by the name of his wife’s lover during his forensic interview, although he admitted to recalling the incident.

Cell phone records from Jan. 28, 2019 reveal the victim called her alleged lover multiple times on her way to and from a morning gym class after a heated argument with Lopez Alvarado.

Deputy Mike Vasquez of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department stated that the victim had been reported missing in Jurupa Valley on Jan. 28.

It was not until Feb. 1 that Lopez Alvarado allegedly told the family that the victim had been kidnapped for a five million pesos ransom. One witness testified in court that she had offered to mortgage her home for Lopez Alvarado to give money to the kidnappers, but Lopez Alvarado rejected it and never called the police.

The defense countered this argument by saying that Lopez Alvarado was scared that the kidnappers would do something to his wife if he had told the police.

DDA Brusselback reported Lopez Alvarado had purchased a cell phone under the alias “Pablo Lopez” the day before he left for Mexico. By Feb. 4 Lopez Alvarado stated during his forensic interview that the kidnappers had released the victim and that he drove down to Mexico to go get her.

Lopez Alvarado could not recall the name of the acquaintance who was driving in the car with him as he entered Mexico on Feb. 4. Meanwhile, he allegedly told the family that he was in San Diego once he got back.

Lopez Alvarado allegedly used the alias “Pedro Gomez” to sell his car back to Toyota. According to DDA Brusselback, Lopez Alvarado’s cell phone pinged at multiple locations on Feb. 4: at the victim’s home at 12:04 a.m., then at 7:05 a.m. near Coachella, and finally at 9 a.m. in Calexico.

Additionally, said the prosecutor, Lopez Alvarado’s DNA was found inside the victim’s vaginal and anal cavity. However, it was unclear whether the iPhone cord used to strangle the victim had the defendant’s DNA on it or not.

The jury was sent to deliberate on whether or not to find Lopez Alvarado guilty of first degree murder.

About The Author

Julia was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She studies Sociology and Entrepreneurship at UCLA.

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