After hearing testimony from Patricia Alatorre’s family on Tuesday, the man who raped and killed the 13-year-old was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of release. Last month, 26-year-old Armando Cruz pled guilty to first-degree murder, rape, and other crimes related to the death of Patricia.
“He is a monster”- Patricia’s mother says
Clara Alvarez, Patricia’s mother, wrote a letter saying that all she has left of her daughter now are memories. She often imagines what Patricia would look like if she were still here. Alvarez wrote that Cruz, whom she frequently called a “monster,” deserved to spend the rest of his life behind bars. She described the child killer’s character as “a cruel and ugly sick-minded person who should never see the light of day again.”
A neighbor’s surveillance footage from the evening of July 1, 2020, shows Patricia, who had been reported missing, getting into a white pickup. Later, conversations on her Instagram account with a man who insisted she meet him were uncovered. Court records show that police arrested the suspect, identified as Cruz, at his Inglewood residence a few days after the teen’s murder.
Cruz reportedly gave a detailed account of the teen’s murder. He led police to her abandoned phone and the construction site where he dumped and burned her body.
Vivianna Alatorre, Patricia’s sister, said the funeral had to be private because of their religious beliefs.
An expected punishment for an unforgivable crime
Vivianna Alatorre testified that Patricia was her dearest friend. Her loss altered her perspective. They had to move, and she’s always worried about being attacked or abducted whenever she goes outside. “Having a sibling slain profoundly influenced me,” she stated. “It alters your very being.” Cruz sat calmly for the hearing, staring at the defense table.
After leaving the courthouse, Alvarez was followed by more than a dozen extended family members. She was leaning on the building wall and crying. In exchange for Cruz’s guilty pleas and a stipulated life sentence without parole, the District Attorney’s office dropped its pursuit of the death penalty.