Man found guilty in 2011 homicide
A Porterville man with known gang affiliations was convicted Friday for first-degree murder for the May 2, 2011 killing of Leo Alvarado.
Victor Alvarado, 21, no relation to the victim, was convicted of first-degree murder with the special circumstances of gang murder and personal use of a firearm and will be sentenced on Oct. 18.
According to a press release from the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office and a story printed in The Porterville Recorder on May 3, 2011, the victim, Leo Alvarado, and the defendant were friends who had both travelled to the Motel 6 on West Morton Avenue to meet with other friends. A verbal argument broke out between them which escalated when Alvarado pulled a handgun he was carrying and fired it at Leo Alvarado. The first shot missed, the second hit the victim in the head, killing him instantly.
According to police, Leo Alvardo had been in the room with Jessica Yanez-Rodriguez, who was 19 years old at the time, and that after Leo died, Yanez-Rodriguez helped Victor Alvarado escape.
Alvarado tried to cover his tracks by hiding the murder weapon in a canal. However, the police were able to recover the gun.
The trial was presided over by Judge Darryl Ferguson, prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Kerri Lopez, with help from Investigator Domingo Florez and the Tulare County District Attorney Bureau of Investigation. The case was initially investigated by Det. Joe Echevarria of the Porterville Police Department.