Lubbock, TX (KCBD) - A Lubbock county jury handed down a life sentence to a 22-year-old Shallowater man after members found him guilty of sexual assault. Jarrod Alvarado was not the only person taken out of the courtroom in handcuffs Friday. Emotions were high in the courtroom and deputies were forced to take two people into custody and asked rows full of people not come back into the courtroom.
DNA linked Alvarado to the sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman back in March of 2009. Starting Monday he went on trial for that assault. Jurors deliberated for just 40 minutes Friday morning over the evidence and testimony they listened to for four days. Just as the guilty verdict was read aloud the courtroom erupted in cries. One woman ran towards the jury box screaming about their decision and a man stood up and started yelling. Both were apprehended by deputies and escorted out of the courtroom.
"Emotions were high for a lot of people in the courtroom. There was an outburst and those things happen and it is unfortunate but we have a job to do. The jury remained focused on the facts and in the end reached the best result," said Jacob Mitchell, assistant district attorney.
"There was an emotional and tense moment in the courtroom that I hope did not influence the jury's decision and I think emotions got the better of some folks on both sides. I hope nothing I did or the state did to provoke any of that," said defense attorney Will Boyles.
Dozens of people, including many family members, were asked to leave the courtroom and not allowed back in during the punishment phase. A female took the stand during the punishment phase who claims Alvarado sexually assaulted her when they were both 16 years old. It was a case where Alvarado was a suspect.
It took jurors an hour to decide his punishment. Prosecutors believe justice was served. "These victims are going to have to live with it for the rest of their lives and I believe a life sentence was appropriate," said Mitchell.
Alvarado's attorney, Will Boyles, says his client was convicted of a crime he did not commit and will appeal and ask for a new trial. "I believe an innocent man was convicted today," said Boyles.
Alvarado will be in his 50s before he is eligible for parole. Deputies tell us the two people that were apprehended from the court face hindering proceedings with disorderly conduct charges.
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