Mother of missing Diana Alvarez weighs in on death penalty for accused killer

The convicted child molester charged with killing a little girl now faces the death penalty, and Diana Alvarez’ mother says he deserves it.

After nearly two years, Rita Hernandez says the state attorney’s office alerted her they’d be seeking the death penalty for Jorge Guerrero-Torres.

“If he killed her…it’s what he deserves. Each update on the case that I get hurts more and more. It’s difficult,” she said.

Earlier this month, a grand jury indicted Guerrero-Torres with first-degree murder in Diana’s death. He’s currently serving 40 years for federal pornography charges.

The 9-year-old Diana went missing two years ago, and her body has yet to be found.

“It does make the case difficult for the state attorney if they don’t have a body. Defense attorneys often rely on ‘no body no crime.’ There’s also going to be missing evidence without that body—missing DNA evidence,” said attorney Daniel Garza.

A good outcome for Guerrero-Torres is something Hernandez says she’s willing to face.

“If he wins this case—there’s nothing I can do. I put it in God’s hands, like I always say,” she said.

But Garza says the death penalty could also be a ploy.

“Often times the state attorney will seek the death penalty, not necessary hoping that the person will plea to serving life in prison, but knowing that they can always seek life as an alternative to going to trial and getting the death penalty. It’s something like 97 percent of the cases plea, and don’t go to trial,” Garza said.

For Hernandez, she’d rather see her daughter again than to see her daughter’s possible killer die.

“Speaking to Jorge’s heart—that he talks and confesses where my daughter’s body is at—because nobody deserves to die,” she said.

Hernandez says that next Thursday, on what would have been Diana’s 11th birthday, she’ll be holding a vigil for her near the Lee County Jail in downtown Fort Myers.

Guerrero-Torres’ scheduled trial date begins June 13.

Reporter:John-Carlos Estrada
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