CA v. Jesse Alvarez: Lover Stalker Murder Trial

Posted at 7:35 AM, March 12, 2024 and last updated 7:41 AM, March 12, 2024

SAN DIEGO (Court TV) — A California man has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of a beloved teacher who was engaged to the defendant’s ex-girlfriend.

Jesse Alvarez is pictured in court.

Defendant Jesse Alvarez is pictured in court on Feb. 26, 2024. (Scripps News San Diego)

Jesse Alvarez was dressed all in black with his firearms painted white when he drove his brother’s car to Mario Fierro’s home on Feb. 1, 2021. Alvarez waited about an hour for Fierro, 37, to emerge and opened fire when he came outside at about 7 a.m., shooting him several times. Fierro died at the scene. Alvarez was captured by authorities later that day.

Alvarez was upset because Fierro had become engaged to Amy Gembara, whom Alvarez had dated for over three years.

Gembara, who maintains she broke off her relationship with Alvarez in Sept. 2019, requested a restraining order in Jan. 2020. At the time, she accused Alvarez of cyberstalking and an attempted break-in at her apartment, which forced her to change her locks and install cameras.

In her filing documents, Gembara stated that Alvarez “engaged in a pattern of control, manipulation, and emotional abuse,” and that his behavior became “erratic and escalated over time” following their breakup.

The judge ultimately denied Gembara’s restraining order request, saying she “did not meet her burden of proof that abuse has occurred within the meaning of the Domestic Violence Protection Act.”

At a preliminary hearing in Feb. 2022, investigators said Alvarez had taken classes at a gun range prior to the shooting and had allegedly asked an instructor: “Where’s the best place to shoot someone to kill them?”

Alvarez, now 33, pled not guilty to charges of murder as well as a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait.

Alvarez faces life in prison without the possibility of parole. The death penalty was not pursued, even though the special circumstance allegation would have allowed it.

Alvarez’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 10.