Wednesday morning, a 30th District Court Judge gave a man charged with helping cover up the murder of his son's wife his sentence. Robert Alvarado is sentenced to twenty years in prison to begin immediately with credit for time served.
The first day of the sentencing trial for a man charged with helping cover up the murder of his son's wife, started with family members talking about the loss of a loved one.
It ended with the man who admitted helping bury her body explaining why he kept quite while her family searched for her for almost two years.
The sentencing trial of Robert Alvarado started at 9 a.m. and by 4 p.m. both the prosecution and defense had rested their cases.
Last week, Alvarado pleaded guilty to tampering or fabricating physical evidence in the January 24th, 2010, murder of his daughter-in-law, Danielle Hill Alvarado.
He waived his right to a jury trial so his punishment is being decided by 30th District Court Judge Bob Brotherton.
The day started with the prosecution calling seven witnesses to the stand, including Danielle's grandparents, the detective investigating her disappearance and several other family members, including Balynnda Dillard, Danielle's mother.
Dillard, along with other family members, talked about the anguish they endured for nearly two years not knowing what happened to Danielle.
But Dillard said she heard rumors that her daughter's remains might be in Burnett Park near an area called Dead Man's Bridge, a she tearfully told the court she visited.
"It was laying out there all alone for so long And I had been on top of it several times and didn't even know it," Dillard said.
After the prosecution called all of its witnesses, it was the defenses turn.
And the attorney only called one person-- the defendant, Robert Alvarado.
Allvarado told the court on January 24th, 2010, his son, Jonathan, called him to come to his mother's house on Polk Street and that's where he saw Danielle on a bathroom floor dead from several stab wounds.
He says after he checked and found that Danielle was cold and had no pulse and he just stared at his son in shock for a while.
Alvarado says it was his son who wrapped Danielle's body in garbage bags and a tarp and two days later he went with him to Burnett Park, West of Wichita Falls, where they spent an hour digging a three foot hole, buried the body and left.
Alvarado says he could have called the police or refused to help his son dispose of the body he helped because he was convinced Jonathan son would get the death penalty.
The prosecution countered calling Alvarado a "man without a conscious" because they say while he buried his son after he committed suicide he denied Danielle's family that right of closure for nearly two years.
All parties will meet back in 30th District Court tomorrow at 10 a.m. for closing arguments.
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