Lady Justice 3 16-9

A state appeals court panel Tuesday upheld a man’s conviction for murdering two women in their 60s who lived in the same Los Angeles apartment building where he resided and who were found dead within hours of each other in 1982.

The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that Victor Alvarez should have been tried separately for the Aug. 16, 1982, murders of Cordelia Ferguson and Hazel Hughes.

In their 11-page ruling, the appellate court justices noted that the victims were both petite women in their 60s who were discovered dead on the same day, that both had suffered multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma to the head and upper body and that there was no sign of forced entry into either of their apartments.

“Each murder involved a very brutal attack on a vulnerable elderly victim,” the panel found.

The appellate court justices noted that the evidence as to each of the victims was “strong,” and that Alvarez “showed a consciousness of guilt in 1982 when he was detained and lied about where he resided” when he claimed to be homeless when he lived at the time in a third-floor apartment unit in the building in the 3300 block of West Fourth Street.

Police were called to the apartment building by a neighbor of Ferguson’s who called 911 and reported that she thought she was “seeing someone get murdered.” Hughes’ body was discovered about 12 hours later.

Alvarez was arrested in October 2009 in New York City after a DNA sample obtained from him was linked to a partial DNA profile obtained from Hughes.

In its ruling, the appellate court panel noted that Alvarez had been surreptitiously recorded during a phone call with his mother after he had been informed he faced murder charges. He told his mother that authorities had evidence, that he was never going to see her again and that “this was going to come to haunt me,” according to the ruling.

Alvarez was convicted in May 2014 of first-degree murder for the stabbing and beating deaths.

Jurors found true the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and murder during the commission of a burglary and sodomy involving Hughes, 63, who lived in a first-floor apartment unit. Jurors rejected a special circumstance alleging that Ferguson — a 67-year-old woman who lived in a fourth-floor unit in the apartment complex — was killed during the commission of a burglary.

Alvarez was sentenced in June 2014 to two consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

— Wire reports 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.