12/08/2009

Family of slain Calif. officer pushing for death penalty

By Jessica Bernstein-Wax
San Jose Mercury News

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Six men and six women charged with deciding whether a 26-year-old man receives the death penalty or life in prison for murdering East Palo Alto police Officer Richard May listened Monday as relatives described the devastating effect the policeman's 2006 slaying has had on their lives.

The testimony from May's mother, stepfather and sister Monday afternoon followed opening statements in the penalty phase of the trial, during which a prosecutor detailed defendant Alberto Alvarez's prior convictions and jailhouse fights, while defense lawyers asked the jury to exercise mercy in sentencing a troubled young man.

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