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DA won’t pursue death penalty in shooting death of Cathedral Catholic teacher

Jesse Alvarez, 30, at his arraignment at San Diego Central Courthouse
In this Feb. 10, 2021 file photo, Jesse Milton Alvarez appears for his arraignment at the San Diego Central Courthouse.
(Eduardo Contreras/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Jesse Milton Alvarez, 32, is charged with murder and lying in wait in connection with the 2021 slaying of Mario Fierro, 37

A Serra Mesa man accused of gunning down his ex-girlfriend’s new fiancé as he headed to his teaching job at Cathedral Catholic High School will not face the death penalty if convicted of murder, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Jesse Milton Alvarez, 32, will face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of murder and a special-circumstance allegation of lying in wait. He has pleaded not guilty in Superior Court. His trial is set to begin in May, Deputy District Attorney Ramona McCarthy said.

McCarthy said she informed the court Nov. 3 that the District Attorney’s Office had opt against pursuing the death penalty in this case.

Alvarez had a hearing scheduled Tuesday to ask a judge to set bail — he’s being held without bail — but rescinded that request at the last minute, McCarthy said.

Alvarez is accused in the shooting death of teacher Mario Fierro, 37, who was engaged to a woman who had dated Alvarez for more than three years.

She broke off the relationship with Alvarez in early September 2019. Four months later, she asked a judge for a restraining order, accusing Alvarez of repeatedly trying to contact her, cyberstalking her and trying to break into her apartment.

Alvarez agreed to back off and the judge denied the restraining order request.

Prosecutors say that on Feb. 1, 2021, Alvarez — dressed in black and with his guns painted white — drove his brother’s car to Fierro’s home on Kansas Street and waited about an hour for Fierro to come outside.

When Fierro came out, he was shot multiple times. Alvarez was arrested later that day.


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