Killer of train passengers gets 11 life sentences

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A man convicted of causing a deadly commuter rail crash in Southern California in 2005 will apparently spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Juan Alvarez was sentenced today to 11 consecutive life terms, with no chance of parole. The judge said he would have imposed a sentence of "forever" on Alvarez, if it were possible.

Alvarez parked his gasoline-soaked SUV on railroad tracks in suburban Los Angeles, where it was struck by a Metrolink train that derailed and struck another Metrolink train traveling in the other direction. Eleven people were killed and about 180 were injured.

The defense maintained Alvarez had changed his mind at the last minute about trying to commit suicide on the tracks but couldn't move the SUV before it was hit.

The prosecution characterized Alvarez as a smirking man who didn't think of the crash as a tragedy.

Many of the victims' survivors came forward to speak through tears about their lost relatives and the way the crash had changed their lives.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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