By Neal Putnam
A special circumstance charge of lying in wait has been filed against a man suspected of killing a teacher in North Park who had been dating the man’s ex-girlfriend.
This means prosecutors may either seek the death penalty or a life term in prison without parole against Jesse Milton Alvarez if he is convicted of first-degree murder of Mario Fierro, who taught at Cathedral Catholic High School.
Alvarez, 31, is suspected of waiting an hour outside the home of Fierro, 37, who was shot six times on Feb. 1. Fierro was found at 7:10 a.m. on the sidewalk of Kansas Street near Monroe Ave.
Fierro and another teacher who previously dated Alvarez were engaged. Fierro was also a football coach and school officials canceled classes for three days after learning of his slaying.
Alvarez allegedly used his brother’s car to travel to North Park to kill Fierro. Police arrested Alvarez at his Serra Mesa home about 13 hours later and seized a handgun that is suspected of being the murder weapon, according to prosecution documents filed in San Diego Superior Court.
Alvarez’s ex-girlfriend ended their relationship in Sept., 2019. She filed a temporary restraining order after he repeatedly called her and went to her home. A judge declined to issue an order against Alvarez, so she changed her phone number, moved and deleted her social media accounts, according to prosecution documents.
Alvarez has pleaded not guilty to all charges and a preliminary hearing has been set for Oct. 18.
The District Attorney’s office filed court documents asking a judge not to set any bail because it is a capital case and for public safety. A judge agreed not to set any bail and Alvarez remains in the George Bailey Detention Facility.
Attorney Kerry Armstrong, who represents Alvarez, said Tuesday he and another attorney are “still going through a ton” of police reports and other information about the case and could not comment.
— Neal Putnam is a local court reporter. Reach him at email@example.com.