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Teens convicted of killing girl's parents sentenced to life in prison

A 17-year-old girl and an 18-year-old man convicted of killing the girls’ parents, then driving to shop for party supplies were sentenced Jan. 24 to life in prison.

Cynthia Alvarez and her boyfriend, Giovanni Gallardo, were convicted in May 2013 of killing the girls’ mother and stepfather.

The bodies of Gloria Villalta, 58, and Jose Lara, 51, were found in October 2011 in separate shallow graves miles apart.

Lara, whose body was discovered in Long Beach, was handcuffed and covered with a blanket. Villalta had been strangled, smothered and dumped in Norwalk.

Gallardo was convicted of strangling Villalta and beating Lara with a baseball bat and stabbing him several times with a kitchen knife. Prosecutors alleged the attacks were part of a planned ambush.

Alvarez told jurors they left her mother’s body in a car for several days after it didn’t fit into a grave with Lara. Then the two drove the car to shop for Halloween supplies for a party in the same home where the killings occurred. The victims’ jewelry and car parts were traded for cash.

Alvarez said she had been a victim of abuse at the hands of her mother and stepfather, allegations disputed by prosecutors and family and friends of the deceased.

“Live life in my shoes,” Alvarez told a Compton courtroom during the sentencing. “If it was your child being raped, I bet you’d say, ‘To hell with the law.’ ”

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ricardo R. Ocampo found the slayings were vicious and sophisticated attacks. Ocampo said he still hadn’t seen remorse and imposed the maximum sentences of life in prison.

Alvarez would be eligible for parole after 51 years. Gallardo would not be eligible because of a law mandating tougher sentences for people older than 16 convicted of murder. A recent state law may allow for a sentence reduction after 15 years served.

Read more: Teens get maximum sentence for killing girl's parents

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