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Date set for Alvarez's trial
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The man who killed two motorcyclists in a head-on crash near Centertown and then fled the state for five years will go on trial for vehicular homicide at the first of the year
If it had been up to the defendant, Herlin Hirlando Alvarez, 27, his trial would have happened sooner. He filed a motion to move up his trial date from the scheduled Jan. 20 date. His request was denied by Circuit Court Judge Bart Stanley. He remains held awaiting his trial on charges of vehicular homicide, reckless homicide, criminally negligent homicide, leaving the scene of an accident involving fatality, and driving on a suspended license.
Alvarez is accused of killing Samantha Roach and Lynn Bell, both 42, when his pickup struck them on Nashville Highway near Centertown on Sept. 30, 2008. Alvarez fled the scene and remained at-large until this spring when he was nabbed by U.S. Customs officials as he tried to board a plane in Atlanta for his native Guatemala. He has been behind bars since his arrest and extradited back to Warren County.
Along with asking his trial date to be moved to a closer date, Alvarez also asked the court to exclude any statements he made to law enforcement once he was returned here from Atlanta. Among the statements was Alvarez reportedly told Sheriff Jackie Matheny he would have never intentionally hurt anyone.
His defense attorney, Richard Roney of Murfreesboro, maintains any statements his client made to officers were taken illegally and were a violation of his constitutional rights.
“Such statements were taken in violation of his right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment,” Roney argued.
The attorney claimed his client was not issued a warning about speaking and that his words could later be used against him during trial.
“The required warning was not given prior to such a statement and any such statement was not freely and voluntarily given,” Roney argued.
The defense’s motion was rejected following hearing before Judge Stanley, meaning anything Alvarez said to law enforcement will be fair game during his trial.
When the trial does arrive, prosecutors will seek to prove the wreck was Alvarez’s fault. Accident investigators have testified skid marks revealed Alvarez was on the wrong side of the road when he struck the motorcycle. He was working as a contractor for Porter Roofing and was heading to work when the wreck happened.
Regardless of the outcome of the trial, Alvarez was in the country illegally and will be deported once he serves any jail time handed down should he be convicted.