Verdict reached in trial of man who killed ex’s new fiancé

Posted at 8:30 PM, March 11, 2024

SAN DIEGO (Scripps News San Diego) — After deliberations began Friday, a jury has found a man guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend’s fiancé.

jesse alvarez testifies

Defendant Jesse Alvarez testifies in his murder trial Wednesday, March 6, 2024. (Scripps News San Diego)

Jesse Alvarez now faces a possible sentence of life in prison without a chance of parole for shooting and killing Mario Fierro in North Park on Feb. 1, 2021. He was convicted of first-degree murder in this case.

Fierro was a beloved teacher at Cathedral Catholic High School, and he was newly engaged to fellow Cathedral teacher Amy Gembara, Alvarez’s ex-girlfriend.

During the trial, prosecutors said the murder was premeditated, since Alvarez’s search history included troubling phrases such as “how to commit the perfect murder,” “how to shoot someone with a 9mm Glock” and “how to hire a hitman.” A crime analyst testified that those Google searches happened about five hours after the school posted a photo announcing the engagement on Facebook.

During his testimony, Alvarez said he drove to Fierro’s apartment in the early hours of Feb. 1, 2021. Alvarez claimed he shot Fierro after Fierro started hitting him first.

When the prosecution cross-examined him, Alvarez admitted to shooting Fierro six times, including in the back, before leaving the scene.

The sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 10.

This story was originally published by Scripps News San Diego, an E.W. Scripps Company.