LOS ANGELES — Deputy Dist. Atty. John Monaghan told jurors during closing arguments Wednesday that Juan Manuel Alvarez never intended to commit suicide when he drove his SUV onto train tracks at Chevy Chase Drive, having instead perpetrated the 2005 Metrolink train derailment that killed 11 and injured more than 180 passengers as an attention-grabbing stunt.
Alvarez is charged with 11 counts of murder with special circumstances and one count each of arson and train wrecking for causing a Jan. 26, 2005, three-train crash when he drove his Jeep Cherokee onto the Metrolink tracks between Glendale and Los Angeles and doused his vehicle with gasoline.
He could face the death penalty if convicted.
When Alvarez testified on May 27, the Los Feliz resident told jurors he also soaked himself in gasoline hoping to burn himself alive after deciding to commit suicide earlier that morning. But prosecutors pointed to statements from emergency personnel and doctors, none of whom detected gasoline on Alvarez after the incident, leading Monaghan to speculate why Alvarez soaked his sport utility vehicle with gasoline.