SALINAS, Calif. (KION-TV)- UPDATE NOV. 8, 2022, at 11:30 a.m.- Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni announced Tuesday her office would not seek the death penalty for a man accused of murdering a Salinas Police officer in Feb.
Gustavo Matias Morales was held to answer at a preliminary hearing in Oct. for the first-degree murder of Jorge David Alvarado Jr. He is accused of shooting at the officer, who was sitting in his patrol car, during a traffic stop and killing him at 10:41 p.m. on Griffin Street in Salinas.
The reason given by the DA's Office for not seeking the death penalty is the "dysfunctional status of capital punishment and consultation with Officer Jorge David Alvarado's family."
California last executed a condemned inmate 16 years ago on January 17, 2006. Clarence Ray Allen
was seventy-six years old and had spent approximately twenty-three years on death row.
Four inmates from Monterey County remain condemned to death. On average, about twenty-four
years has passed since they received a sentence of death.
Under the Condemned Inmate Transfer Pilot Program (CITPP), inmates condemned to death canMonterey County District Attorney's Office
volunteer to be transferred from death row to other state prisons. Inmates participating in the CITPP
acquire the classification status of a prisoner serving a sentence of life without the possibility of
Other reasons given are the more expensive pre-trial and post rial rights defendants get when facing the death penalty. This would extend the time needed to go to trial and uphold a death penalty judgment that exhausts the appellate process, said Pacioni.
If found guilty, Morales faces a sentence of life in prison. He is scheduled for court on Dec. 15, 2022.
Man accused of killing Salinas Officer Jorge David Alvarado Jr. pleads not guilty again
UPDATE Oct. 27, 2022, at 1:30 p.m.- The man accused of murdering Salinas Police Officer Jorge David Alvardo Jr. on Feb. 25 was in court Thursday for a new arraignment hearing.
Morales was in court with his attorney and pled not guilty to all charges and special allegations. He is next scheduled for a 995 hearing on Dec. 15.
He is being housed in San Benito County Jail on a no-bail hold.
Man accused of killing Salinas Officer Jorge David Alvarado Jr. to stand trial for murder
UPDATE August 18, 2022, at 12:30 p.m.- The man accused of murdering Salinas Police Officer Jorge David Alvardo Jr. on Feb. 25, will stand trial for his murder, announced a Salinas judge Thursday.
Gustavo Matias Morales allegedly shot Officer Jorge David Alvarado Jr. 12 times that night on East Market Street, according to a person who performed Alavardo's autopsy.
The prosecutor presented evidence to the judge, including a confession by Morales to an informant that he shot an officer and that the gun he used was recovered in his parent’s house in East Salinas. They also showed images of Morales's car.
Officer Alvarado’s body cam footage of the shooting was also shown in court. Along with surveillance video from a nearby business that saw Morales driving away after he allegedly shot Alvarado.
The prosecutor’s closing statement was that Morales knew he was arrestable and executed Officer Alvarado because of it. He added that Officer Alvarado shot Morales in the left hand and miraculously identified Morales as his killer because of it.
The judge agreed with the prosecution that the evidence was enough to hold Morales for a trial on those murder charges.
Morales’s next court appearance will be on October 27th at 8:30 a.m., which will be for his arraignment. He will remain in the Monterey County Jail on a no-bail hold.
Suspect accused of murdering Salinas police officer makes court appearance before preliminary hearing
UPDATE JULY 26, 2022, at 12:45 p.m.- The man suspected of murdering Jorge David Alvardo Jr. made a court appearance Tuesday in Salinas.
Gustavo Matias Morales had his preliminary examination set for August 18 for allegedly murdering Alvardo Jr. during a traffic stop in February.
When KION asked Morales' attorney for a statement in the case, he said, "Not at this time."
Morales faces charges of murdering a peace officer with special enhancements added.
Suspect accused of murdering Salinas police officer makes court appearance, new charges added
UPDATE MAY 10, 2022, at 1:45 p.m.-- The man accused of murdering a Salinas Police Officer made a court appearance at the Superior Court of California, County of Monterey in Salinas Tuesday morning.
Gustavo Morales got an additional special circumstance added for murder to avoid arrest. This will be added to his previous charge of murdering a peace officer, said the Monterey County DA's office.
Morales was also arraigned on three misdemeanors for violating probation.
He is next scheduled for court on June 7 at 8:30 a.m. for a setting for a preliminary hearing.
UPDATE APRIL 28, 2022 at 12:45 p.m.-- The Monterey County District Attorney's Office said the family of a man accused of killing Salinas Police Officer Jorge Alvarado Jr. is currently not facing criminal charges.
After court documents say the family changed their story, would not speak with investigating officers and even cleaned out the residence Gustavo was staying at in Watsonville after speaking with officers.
According to the DA's office, there is currently not enough evidence to hold any of the family members with criminal charges.
UPDATE APRIL 8, 2022, at 11:29 a.m.-- In court documents obtained by KION, it was revealed the Monterey County District Attorney's Office served a search warrant on several properties believed to hold evidence in the murder of Salinas Police Officer Jorge David Alvarado Jr.
Ten cell phones, four belonging to suspected murderer Gustavo Morales and the rest belonging to Gustavo's mother, father, two sisters, brother, and one of his sister's boyfriends, were seized as evidence.
An illegally purchased Taurus G3 pistol, believed to be the weapon that killed Officer Alvarado, was also found in the home of Morales' parents on the 40th block of North Hebbron Avenue.
The documents allege that on the day Morales killed Alvarado, he drove to his parent's home and was taken to Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital for an injury to the webbing of his left hand.
That same night, Salinas Detectives used a witness to identify Gustavo as Officer Alvarado's killer, and he was arrested, according to the DA's office.
While being booked, Morales made two spontaneous statements, the first being about not seeing the "light of day" anymore and the second about hearing "voices" in his head.
On Feb. 26, SWAT served a search warrant on Morales' parent's home, his father's vehicle, and Morales' vehicle parked at his parent's house.
Morales' father showed officers where the gun was in the residence and added that Gustavo had the gun when he arrived at his home the night Officer Alvarado was killed.
When interviewed, Gustavo's parents said they drove him to the hospital in his father's work van to treat his left hand, which was bleeding.
His parents also said that Gustavo stated he was just "in a shootout with police."
Ring doorbell footage was taken from the parent's front door, and Gustavo's cell phone was found in his truck and taken as evidence.
When interviewed the next day, Morale's parents now said that Gustavo never told them he got shot and that they didn't ask him what happened.
The father added that his wife, Gustavo, and Gustavo's brother drove for 15-20 minutes and tried to convince Gustavo to go to the hospital.
One of Gustavo's sisters was interviewed about contact with him on the day of the shooting.
She admitted to a single call at 10:37 p.m. where Gustavo told her "they are following me" and that a car was behind him before their call got disconnected.
That statement was a lie because call logs of the suspect's phone revealed four calls between the two that day.
Gustavo's brother was also interviewed alone in the backyard of the parent's home and admitted to being there when Gustavo showed up bleeding but said he would not say anything more.
The father appeared and told the brother not to speak with the police, to which the brother replied to an officer, "I'm not saying anything more than what my dad said."
All four family members were asked if they knew where in Watsonville Gustavo lived and worked, and they all said they did not.
A man in Watsonville said he rented a room to Gustavo for two months. After the investigators interviewed the four family members, the sister present went to the landlord's home and asked to get Gustavo's belongings.
She stated it was an emergency and that her brother was not returning.
The landlord said that she showed up with a man, who was the boyfriend of Gustavo's other sister (Sister 2) and he helped gather the belongings.
On Feb. 28, officer's waited for a search warrant pending at a residence belonging to Sister 1 on the 1200 block of San Blanco Drive. All three of Gustavo's siblings arrived and were detained and notified of the pending search.
While waiting, Sister 2's boyfriend arrived, and the house was searched, but no additional evidence was found.
Investigators were searching Gustavo's parent's home on the same day, and four cell phones were seized from Gustavo's vehicle.
A man under the name of "Fuzka," meaning gun in Spanish, was texting Gustavo on Feb. 21 about purchasing a firearm.
The conversations read as follows:
Gustavo: Hey bro, I saved money for an r it it's possible
Fuzka: I have one for 800
Gustavo: I'll be headed up to Oregon in one month
Fuzka: I'm in Nampa, Idaho. Could you come over here
Gustavo: Can we meet in the same place as last time
Fuzka: Ontario, right. Sure
Fuzka: When is the soonest you can meet in Ontario
Gustavo: Am in Cali but am just waiting on my job to start then I'll head that way
Fuzka: I can only do before Thursday night or after March 5th
Gustavo: Ok it I'll after
Fuzka: Ok. Let me know
According to court documents, the gun used to kill Officer Alvarado was purchased on Dec. 21, 2021 at a D&B Supply in Kuna, Idaho.
Law enforcement contacted the seller on March 8 and told the gun was sold and used to kill a police officer.
According to court documents, the seller started crying, "I shouldn't be selling guns. I should have been making for IDs," according to court documents.
The man accused of shooting and killing Salinas Police Office Jorge Alvarado Jr. has been moved to San Benito County Jail.
Gustavo Matias Morales is scheduled for a preliminary examination hearing Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. at the Monterey County Superior Court.
The Monterey County District Attorney said that a suspect charged with the murder of Salinas Police Officer Jorge David Alvarado Jr. was arraigned in court Tuesday.
Gustavo Matias Morales pleaded not guilty on all charges.
According to the DA's Office, charges against Morales are for premeditated murder, shooting at an occupied vehicle and assault on a peace officer with a semi-automatic firearm.
Special enhancements for his alleged crimes include the murder of a peace officer engaged in duties, two enhancements for personal and intentional discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury and intentional use of a firearm.
On Feb. 25, at around 10:41 p.m., Officer Alvarado began a traffic stop on East Market Street, and Morales pulled over his vehicle and exited, walking towards the patrol car.
Morales then fired a 'barrage' of bullets at Officer Alvarado while walking toward the officer's patrol car.
While Alvardo was still seated in his car, he fired back and hit the web of Morales's left hand.
"We are very appreciative of the support the community has demonstrated in this catastrophic incident for our family. I'm offering the sincerest thank yous from the bottom of my heart," Officer Alvarado Jr.'s brother, Jorge Ernesto Alvarado, said.
Gustavo Morales is next scheduled for court on March 22.