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Killer of 14-Year-Old Defiant at Sentencing

March 31, 2000

VENTURA COUNTY — Even as he was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the murder of 14-year-old Kali Manley, David Alvarez of Ojai continued Thursday to minimize his responsibility, smirking during an emotional sentencing hearing and denying that he tried to rape her.

The victim's parents walked out of court as Alvarez, against the advice of his lawyers, stood up to read a handwritten statement.

Although he pleaded guilty last month to first-degree murder, Alvarez accused prosecutors of planting evidence against him.

"As far as the death of Kali Manley, I am responsible for that," he said, admitting that he strangled the Nordhoff High School freshman in a trailer on Dec. 20, 1998.

But Alvarez, who has said he was high after a two-day cocaine binge, suggested Kali actually died as a result of a drug overdose, or possibly exposure to the cold, rather than from being choked.

His comments appeared to bewilder the crowd in Superior Court. Friends and relatives of the slain girl gasped and shook their heads.

Controversy over whether a sexual assault occurred consumed much of the sentencing hearing, during which Alvarez denied it.

Kali disappeared on Dec. 20, 1998, after leaving a sleepover at a girlfriend's house with Alvarez and his friend, Robert Miears. The trio bought wine coolers and went to a trailer owned by Alvarez's family in the Ojai area.

According to Miears, Kali and Alvarez went into a back bedroom. She was never again seen alive.

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