Not-guilty plea in Yuba City hostage incident
A Modesto man accused of taking two hostages during a robbery attempt at Big 5 Sporting Goods in Yuba City pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in Sutter County Superior Court.
Wearing a black jail smock, Juan Carlos Alvarez, 29, appeared via a video monitor from the Sutter County Jail and spoke to Judge Christopher R. Chandler through a Spanish interpreter.
The judge entered pleas of not guilty on the defendant's behalf.
Chandler old Alvarez the criminal charges included three counts of second-degree robbery, two counts of assault with a firearm and two counts of false imprisonment.
"I'm being charged with all of that and that's all?" Alvarez questioned through the court interpreter. "How many people are accusing me?"
Chandler appointed the public defender's office to represent Alvarez and told him his attorney would answer those questions.
He faces more than 30 years in prison if convicted.
Alvarez is accused of holding two Big 5 employees hostage for more than four hours Sunday afternoon in Yuba City in what police have described as a botched robbery.
There were no injuries.
Allyson Taylor, the 18-year-old cashier who was held hostage, said Alvarez specifically told her he was not after money. She believes Alvarez intended to commit "suicide by cop."
Police have credited Taylor, a recent Yuba City High School graduate, with helping to end the standoff peacefully.
Jana McClung, assistant Sutter County district attorney, agreed the case against Alvarez appears air tight, but said that does not guarantee a conviction.
"But juries do strange things, so you never know," McClung said later outside the courthouse.
Alvarez is due back in court Aug. 15 for a conference, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled the following day.
He is being held without bail at the Sutter County Jail.
CONTACT Rob Parsons at email@example.com or 749-4785. Find him on Facebook at /ADcrimebeat or on Twitter at @ADcrimebeat.