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Feb 8, 2010 2:23 PM

Judge upholds death sentence for man who killed former Lompoc cop

The man who killed a former Lompoc police officer is sentenced to death Monday morning.

A San Mateo County Superior Court judge this morning upheld a jury's recommendation to sentence 26-year-old Alberto Alvarez to death for killing former San Luis Obispo resident Richard May in 2006.

May was serving as a police officer in East Palo Alto at the time of his death.

In December, jurors recommended the death penalty for Alvarez after convicting him Nov. 25 of first-degree murder with the special circumstance of killing a peace officer.

Had Judge Craig Parsons not condemned Alvarez to death, he would have faced life in prison without the chance of parole.

May was killed the afternoon of Jan. 7, 2006, after he responded to a report of a fight at a taqueria on University Avenue in East Palo Alto.

He had followed Alvarez from the area of the taqueria to nearby Weeks Street, where the two exchanged gunfire. May was hit and fell to the ground.

Alvarez then fired two additional shots at May, including a fatal shot to the head, which one juror said was "the deciding factor" in recommending the death penalty.

Convicted killer Scott Peterson was the last person to be sentenced to death in San Mateo County Superior Court after he was found guilty in 2004 of murdering his wife and unborn child.

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