After several hours of deliberation in a Long Beach courtroom, jurors found a transgender prostitute guilty of first-degree murder. 38-year-old Angel Guevarabello may face life in prison for the murder of young Wilmington mother Cristian "Cristy" Zugey Alvarez.
Alvarez' body was discovered behind the train tracks near L Street and Hyatt Avenue around 5:30 a.m. by an individual walking their dog on January 2, 2012. Her throat had been slashed and her pants pulled down. An unwrapped condom was placed on her stomach.
Alvarez was originally from Wilmington, but had moved to Long Beach with her boyfriend and their two young children. According to her family, she was in the process of moving back home to Wilmington and had recently signed a lease on a home. Alvarez worked at a bakery, but had turned to sex work to support her family preceding her death. According to surveillance footage presented at trial, Alvarez had parked her Ford Expedition near the scene of the crime and walked a few minutes away to meet clients.
On video, investigators noticed a white, beat-up sedan driving by Alvarez' car repeatedly the morning of January 2. The car had a distinctive side tail light and damage to the roof and hood, but detectives could not make out any identifying information about the vehicle even after enhancing the footage.
Several months later, detectives realized the vehicle was a Daewoo Nubira after seeing one drive past. A search of all Daewoo Nubiras registered to Wilmington residents led authorities to Guevarabello and her vehicle. While Alvarez' DNA was not found inside Guevarabello's car, detectives found a large knife behind the driver's seta and a handwritten note in the glove compartment with the license-plate number, make, and model of Alvarez' Expedition. Detectives also found a pair of blue rubber gloves, acetone and bleach, and a box of the same brand condoms as the one left on Alvarez' stomach.
According to prosecutors, Guevarabello and Alvarez had crossed paths because they both worked as prostitutes in the area. Prosecutors argued that Guevarabello, who was born a man, was jealous of "real" women like Alvarez, especially if they were pretty or thin. Witnesses at trial included a close friend of Guevarabello's who testified that she told her about the murder and bragged about killing Alvarez, and the woman who found Alvarez' body. A neighbor also testified that upon hearing a woman's screams around 4:30 a.m. January 2, he looked out his window and made eye contact with a man driving away in a white vehicle.
The trial has been delayed for years due to medical issues related to Guevarabello's transition from male to female. Trial finally began in early June. Guevarabello is listed by the police as a male, but asked the judge to refer to her as female. She faces 26 years to life in prison for the murder.