Man who killed Richard May, a police officer from San Luis Obispo, is sentenced to death

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — A judge has sentenced to death a 26-year-old man convicted of fatally shooting an East Palo Alto police officer in 2006.

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Craig Parsons affirmed a jury’s decision to recommend the death sentence for Alberto Alvarez, who was convicted of murder in November.

Authorities say Alvarez killed Officer Richard May as he was responding to reports of fighting at a taqueria. May was born and raised in San Luis Obispo and previously worked as a Lompoc police officer.

During the trial, prosecutors said Alvarez opened fire on May to avoid going back to prison for a felony parole violation. Alvarez testified that he shot the officer because he feared for his life.

Witnesses said Alvarez shot May twice, then walked back to the fallen officer to fire a third shot into his head.

Alvarez showed no reaction when the judge issued the sentence Monday.