Life sentence for deadly rail crash

LOS ANGELES, July 15 (UPI) -- A jury in Southern California recommended life without parole Tuesday for a man who caused a deadly commuter rail crash.

Prosecutors sought the death penalty for Juan Manuel Alvarez, who was found guilty last month of 11 counts of murder, the Los Angeles Times reported. The jury instead opted for a life sentence.


Alvarez claimed that he was planning suicide when he parked his SUV on train tracks in Glendale in 2005 but lost his nerve at the last moment. After a Metrolink train hit the vehicle, the train struck a stationary freight train and then hit another commuter train head-on, killing 11 people and injuring 180.

When he gave his summation last week in the penalty phase of the trial, Alvarez's lawyer, Michael Belter, said that his client had been "beaten like a dog" during a childhood of severe abuse. He argued that a lifetime behind bars for his 29-year-old client would be adequate punishment.

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