Jessica Valdez

Jessica Valdez

Alvarez sentenced to life without parole

September 24, 2007

An Elkhart mom who pleaded guilty to killing her four children was sentenced to life in prison without parole Monday morning in Elkhart County Circuit Court.

Angelica Alvarez, 27, was charged with four counts of murder following the death of her four children — Jennifer Lopez, 8, Gonzalo Lopez, 6, Daniel Valdez, 4, and Jessica Valdez, 2 — who were found strangled inside their Elkhart home in November. As part of a plea agreement, she pleaded guilty to the charge on Sept. 4 of this year after being found competent to stand trial.

Prior to sentencing, defense attorney Juan Garcia told Circuit Court Judge Terry Shewmaker that Alvarez has expressed remorse for her actions. “In spite of what she did, I don’t want anyone in the public to think that she is a monster,” Garcia said.

Prior to the deaths of the children, Alvarez left a note explaining what she had done and why. According to the note, Alvarez expressed that her husband was in the process of leaving her and she did not feel that she was capable to taking care of the four children alone. Previous testimony had suggested that the children had been drugged before they were killed. Prosecuting Attorney Curtis T. Hill presented toxicology reports that showed that the children were not drugged. Hill argued that Alvarez was competent enough to know precisely what she was doing at the time of the murder, despite treatment at a state mental health hospital in Logansport. “There was a clear conscious at the time. She had a plan and systematically thought it through and executed it. That equals murder,” Hill said.

Garcia told the court that Alvarez has “severe mental health issues” and noted that those suffering from physical health issues are “treated until they get better.” “Mental health issues should be treated with the same severity as physical health issues,” Garcia said. After sentencing, Gonzalo Lopez, the father of the two eldest children, spoke to the court about how the events have impacted him. He said that despite the events, he hold no ill will toward Alvarez. “I have peace and tranquility and have forgiven her,” Lopez said through a translator.

Hill said that he would have preferred the death penalty for Alvarez, but opted against seeking it as punishment. “This didn’t have to happen, but locking her up for the rest of her life does,” Hill said. Alvarez stated through a translator that she has “sincerely repented and I accept my responsibility.” Alvarez will be incarcerated at the Indiana Department of Corrections.

See posts for dear brothers Daniel and Gonzalo, and dear sister Jennifer.


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