A 33-year-old man was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder for killing a woman and attacking her children with a machete in 2007.
The same jury that convicted Victor Cruz-Garcia will next decide whether to impose the death penalty for the slaying of Beatrice Alvarez, 46. A penalty hearing in the case is set to begin Monday before District Judge David Barker.
The jury will have four choices on how to punish Cruz-Garcia - death, life without the possibility of parole, 20 years to life in prison, or 20 to 50 years in prison.
Weeks before the attack, Alvarez allowed Cruz-Garcia and his then-girlfriend, Maria Erlinda Ulloa, to move into her apartment near Bonanza Road and Eastern Avenue. Alvarez had met Ulloa at church. The couple had recently moved to the valley from Texas.
Several weeks later Cruz-Garcia fought with his girlfriend while drunk. During the fight Cruz-Garcia grabbed a machete, chased down Alvarez and struck her in the head with the blade.
Both of Alvarez's children, her daughter, then 12, and son, then 27, were also struck and injured. The son had tried to put himself between his mother and her attacker. Cruz-Garcia then cut off the son's arm and a finger, which were later reattached.
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