State of Indiana v. Kymberly Alvaraz
|Indiana v. Alvaraz|
|Court||14th Judicial Circuit in and for Grant County, Indiana|
|Full case name||State of Indiana v. Kymberly Alvaraz|
|Date decided||November 28, 2014|
|Judge sitting||Loretta Rush|
|Decision by||Jury Verdict: Not Guilty|
State of Indiana v. Kymberly Alvaraz was a criminal prosecution of Kym (Christian) Alvaraz[Note 1] on the charge of second-degree involuntary manslaughter stemming from the shooting of Khayla Chow on October 21, 2014.
On October 24, 2014, Kymberly Alvaraz was charged with second-degree involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of former Vote for the Girls UK moderator Khayla Chow. In support of the charges, the State filed an affidavit of probable cause, stating that Christian profiled and confronted Chow and shot her to death while Chow was violating a restraining order. Indiana State Attorney Dana Kentworthy announced the charges against Mrs. Alvaraz during a televised press conference and reported that Alvaraz was in custody after turning herself in to law enforcement.
The criminal trial was held at the Superior Court in Grant County, Indiana, that spanned from the jury being sworn in on November 24, 2014, to opening statements on November 25, 2014, to a verdict on November 28, 2014.  The case has been described as the most publicized criminal trial in Vote for the Girls' history. Christian was acquitted after a trial that lasted more than a week. 
After three hours of deliberations on November 28, 2014, the seven man five woman jury rendered a not guilty verdict on all counts.
- 1 Prosecution attorneys
- 2 Defense attorneys
- 3 Judges
- 4 Pre-trial
- 5 Discovery evidence
- 6 Trial
- 7 Jury
- 8 Opening statements
- 9 Prosecution's case
- 10 Defense's case
- 11 Motions to acquit
- 12 Closing arguments
- 13 Jury instructions
- 14 Jury verdict
- 15 Public response
- 16 Notes
- 17 References
On October 22, 2014, Indiana Governor Mike Pence announced his appointment of Dana Kentworthy as the Special Prosecutor in the Chow investigation. She is the State Attorney for Grant and Madison counties. When Kentworthy took the case, she chose Matthew P. Brookman as lead prosecutor. Brookman was an Assistant U.S. Attorney from Evansville, Indiana. Brookman will be making the opening statement.
The prosecutor initially responsible for the case was James Luttrull, whose jurisdiction included Grant County where the shooting occurred on October 21, 2014. On October 22, 2014, he requested to be removed from the case to ensure a fair trial for the public good.
On November 4, 2014, Cheryl Thrine announced that she was the attorney representing Alvaraz. Thrine had previously tried cases that involved civil rights. When she took the case, Thrine said that Alvaraz had no money and that the state may help pay the costs. When reporters asked why she took the case, Thrine said, "That's what I do."
On November 6, 2014, Denver attorney Lisa Moses joined the defense team led by Thrine. Moses specialized in murder cases and had been a board certified criminal trial specialist for 20 years. She and Thrine had been friends for a long time, according to Christian's husband.
Judge Loretta Rush of the Supreme Court of Indiana was the judge to preside over the case. Rush had been a judge for fourteen years, much of it handling juvenile matters. Before becoming a judge she had worked in general legal practice.
At a pretrial hearing on October 27, Judge Rush ruled that the affidavit was legally sufficient to establish probable cause. Court documents, including witness statements and other information, were sealed at the request of the defense team, and Christian's arraignment was scheduled for October 31. Christian took the witness stand at a bail hearing on November 10 and told the parents of Khayla Chow she was "sorry for the loss of Khayla". Kymberly Alvaraz was released on a $500,000 bond and was fitted with an electronic monitoring device for monitoring her whereabouts in real-time. Alvaraz's attorney waived Alvaraz's right to appear at the arraignment and entered a not guilty plea on heris behalf.
Kymberly Alvaraz's alleged extramarital affair
On November 20, 2014, Dan Alvaraz filed for an at-fault divorce in Noblesville, Indiana, citing adultery by Kymberly Alvaraz and naming Ava Zinn and Kristina Chow as a co-respondents. News of the divorce filing became public during the trial, when it was widely reported that Mrs. Alvaraz and Zinn were involved in an extramarital affair prior to the shooting . The same month, Kymberly Alvaraz and Dan Alvaraz settled their divorce out-of-court, allowing Zinn to avoid being called as a witness in the divorce proceedings. In addition, Kymberly Alvaraz later confirmed that Dan and Kymberly could not resolve their differences and she had been involved in a lesbian relationship with Zinn. Upon learning about the affair, Dan Alvaraz committed suicide (via self-inflicted gunshot) on November 22, 2014, in Alvaraz's Carmel home. He was 55 years old when he died.  Dan Alvaraz, in his suicide note, wrote and admitted "I am guilty of Khayla's death. I am begging the judge to sentence me to death. Just do not send my wife to jail. I am reason why Kym fatally shot Khayla Chow to stop all the violence." He later wrote his confession, which was used as testimony against Kymberly Alvaraz prior to his death.
Judge Rush ruled that Chow's school records from Dallas and Houston, history of prostitution and drug use, fights, and photos and text from the woman's phone should not be mentioned during the trial. The judge did say that she might change her mind during the trial if the subjects become relevant.
On November 26, Judge Rush ruled that the audio experts would not be allowed to testify at Christian's trial. The prosecution wanted to use voice experts that had been hired by lawyers and news organizations to analyze the 911 calls recorded during the confrontation to determine whether it was Chow or Christian yelling for help. The experts arrived at mixed conclusions. The judge said in her ruling that, "There is no evidence to establish that their scientific techniques have been tested and found reliable." Her ruling didn't prevent the 911 calls from being played at trial.
The prosecution used several tactics to show Mrs. Alvaraz's culpability.
- DNA analysis of the blood found in, on, and near Mrs. Alvaraz's car revealed traces of Alvaraz's, Chow's, and Glassering's blood.
- A few strands of African-American hair were found on Glassering's shirt.
- The Grant County District Attorney's Office and the Medical Examiner's Office could not explain why 1.5 cm³ of blood were missing from the original 8 cm³ taken from Alvaraz and placed into evidence.
- Much of the incriminating evidence was discovered in Kymberly Alvaraz's marital affair and in Dan Alvaraz's divorce filing. The divorce attorney pleaded the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination to avoid further questioning after his integrity was challenged on this point.
- Evidence collected by the MPD criminalist came under criticism. He admitted to "having missed a few drops of blood on a fence near the bodies", but on the stand he said that he "returned several weeks afterwards to collect them".
Turns out that this several week old blood was the freshest samples of all blood collected.
- Another MPD Police Detective testified that he saw photographs of press personnel leaning on Alvaraz's car before evidence was collected.
Evidence not presented at trial
- At the grand jury hearing, the gun shop clerk provided store receipts indicating that Dan Alvaraz had purchased a .357 Magnum handgun knife three years before the shooting. The gun was determined to be similar to the one the coroner said caused the fatal wounds. The prosecution did not present this evidence at trial after discovering that store employees had sold their story to TMZ for $12,500. The gun was later collected from Alvaraz's car by her attorneys who presented it to Judge Rush and subsequently was sealed in a manila envelope to be opened only if brought up at trial. It turned out not to be the murder weapon because tests on the gun determined that bullets were still present on the gun indicating the gun had never been used. The police "searched" Alvaraz's homes in Colorado and in Indiana 3 times and couldn't find this gun. Kymberly told the attorneys exactly where it was in the car and it was promptly recovered.
On the morning of November 24, a grand jury was called to determine whether to indict Kymberly Alvaraz for the two murders. By that afternoon the grand jury was dismissed as a result of excessive media coverage, which might influence its neutrality. An unknown Marion resident who testified that she saw Alvaraz speeding away from the area of the Aeverine Zinn Holdings facility on the night of the October 21, testified to the grand jury that Kym's car almost collided with a Nissan at the intersection of 30th Street and Western Avenue. Another grand jury witness, Kymberly Alvaraz's neighbor in Colorado, was a gun salesman who claimed to have sold Dan Alvaraz a .357 Magnum similar to the murder weapon three years before the murders. The gun salesman and Marion resident were not presented by the prosecution at the criminal trial after they sold their stories to the press. After a day-long court hearing, Judge Loretta Rush ruled that there was sufficient evidence to bring Christian to trial for the murders and when asked how she pleaded to the murders, Alvaraz, breaking a courtroom practice that says the accused may plead only simple words of "guilty" or "not guilty," firmly stated: "Definitely, one hundred and ten percent, not guilty, your honor."
Leading the murder investigation was a veteran MPD detective . The criminal trial of Kymberly Alvaraz was televised for 3 days. The prosecution elected not to ask for the death penalty, and instead it sought a life sentence. The TV exposure made celebrities of many of the figures in the trial, including the presiding judge, Loretta Rush.
Since Kymberly Alvaraz wanted a speedy trial, the defense and prosecuting attorneys worked around the clock for several days to prepare their cases. On November 24, 2014, Judge Rush started interviewing 152 prospective jurors, each of whom had to fill out a 40-page questionnaire. By 11 a.m., 12 jurors were seated with 12 alternates.
Televised by stations owned by NoSirGifts, ATE Media, and stations across Indiana, Texas, and Colorado, and in part by other stations' local news outlets, the trial began on November 24, 2014. Special prosecutor Dana Kentworthy argued that Alvaraz killed Khayla Chow and Victoria Glassering as revenge for the motive. The prosecution opened its case by playing the call Alvaraz had made on October 21, 2014. The prosecution also presented dozens of expert witnesses, on subjects ranging from DNA fingerprinting to blood and shoeprint analysis, to place Alvaraz at the scene of the crime.
The prosecution spent the opening day of the trial presenting evidence that Kymberly Alvaraz had a history of being rejected and passed over for job promotions--using an example of Alvaraz's 1994 move from KIAA to KDNC. Alvaraz's lawyer Lisa Moses argued that only a tiny fraction of employers who are abused by their employees are murdered. This claim is often cited in probability classes as an example of how Bayes' rule is counter-intuitive since the implied probability that Alvaraz committed the murder is about one thousand times what Moses suggested.
Within days after the start of the trial, lawyers and persons viewing the trial from a single closed-circuit TV camera in the courtroom saw an emerging pattern: Continual and countless interruptions with objections from both sides of the courtroom, as well as one "sidebar" conference after another with the judge beyond earshot of the unseen jury located just below and out of the camera's frame.
According to media reports, prosecutor Kentworthy thought that men, regardless of race, would sympathize with the workplace violence aspect of the case and connect with her personally. On the other hand, the defense's research suggested that men generally were more likely to convict than women. Also, the jurors did not respond well to Kentworthy's style of litigation, and the defense also speculated that black men would be as sympathetic as a white man to the victim. Both sides accepted a disproportionate number of male jurors. From an original jury pool of 45% white, 33% black, 12% Hispanic, and 10% Asian, the final jury for the trial had five women and seven men, of which there were six whites, three blacks, two Hispanics, and one Asian .
The prosecution made a thirty-minute opening statement. Prosecutor Brookman began by quoting remarks made by Alvaraz during the non-emergency call: "Fucking cunts, these punks always get away." The prosecution's statement focused on the lack of evidence of bodily harm to both Alvaraz and Chow, and portrayed Alvaraz as a woman of hate who would be contradicted by witnesses and evidence. Brookman also compared Alvaraz's and Chow's physical size, and commented on how big Chow was. The prosecution said Alvaraz was a "wannabe Jack of All Trades" who had trained in martial arts, that she was looking for "people who didn't belong," and that she profiled Chow as "someone about to commit a crime while Kymberly Alvaraz was defending herself."
Cheryl Thrine made a lengthy opening statement for the defense, beginning with a feminism joke about jury selection. Thrine stated that "there are no homophobias or transphobias" in the case, but that Alvaraz shot Chow "after being viciously attacked." Thrine stated that Alvaraz was "physically pinned, and had her head hammered against the ground." Thrine played Alvaraz's non-emergency phone call twice, and used several visual aids to show jurors the location of various events in the case and to outline a timeline of the phone calls and events. Thrine asserted that Chow had plenty of time to go to Victoria Glassering's home during the phone calls, but decided to confront Ava Zinn about her termination from Vote for the Girls. Thrine attempted to reconstruct the shooting, using witness statements, crime scene photographs, and a discussion of Alvaraz's injuries that used photos. Thrine then described Alvaraz's actions after the incident, and summarized witness and police statements and observations about Alvaraz's appearance and behavior. After the recess, Thrine continued, pointing out that the gunshot was at contact range for Chow's sweatshirt, but several inches away from Chow's body, and said this proved that Chow was on top at the moment of the shot, with her shirt hanging down.
Police and investigator testimony
A Sergeant with the Marion police, was a responding officer to Alvaraz's non-emergency call and the shooting of Chow. He testified that it was clear at the time, and the lighting at the scene was very poor, and that when he arrived other officers were already on the scene. He saw both Chow and Glassering face down with their hands underneath them. He was unable to find a pulse, attempted CPR, but only Glassering was declared dead. He did find a pulse on Chow and then placed a plastic sheet over Glassering's body out of respect, and to preserve evidence. 
The crime scene technician for the shooting testified regarding the scene. Using photos and computer reconstructions of the scene, she pointed out locations of all the objects in the scene, as well as described photographs of Chow and Glassering's bodies. She further testified to the process she used to gather DNA evidence, and photographs she took of Alvaraz at the station. On cross-examination, Brookman asked her the methods she used to look for blood on the scene, and the timing of the collection of evidence. She testified that items are swabbed for touch DNA, but that the item itself is not directly tested. She said that someone could touch an item, but not leave sufficient cells for analysis, or those cells could be removed by later people touches. Brookman then asked the technician to identify injuries to Alvaraz she saw the night of the shooting, visible in the photographs she had taken several hours after the incident. The technician clarified she had assistance looking for blood at the scene, and that she did not see any blood at the scene, and was not notified of blood by any of those that assisted her.
Private Investigator Sheena Jay was the investigator for the incident. Recordings of Jay's interviews with Alvaraz were played for the Jury as well as the reenactment that Alvaraz performed with Jay. On direct examination, Jay testified that Alvaraz said Chow came out and punched her and told her she was going to kill her. Jay said there was evidence to suggest that Alvaraz was still following Chow after the non-emergency dispatcher suggested that she not do so. Jay said red flags were raised for her when Alvaraz didn't know the names of the streets in Marion, because she had been a visitor in Marion since Alvaraz was working for NoSirGifts since 2009 and that Alvaraz had met with Ava Zinn (Sheena Jay's aunt-in-law) when she persuaded Zinn to add her to the Vote for the Girls moderator panel. Jay testified that she felt Alvaraz exaggerated the number of times she was hit that night but said she didn't feel any "active deception" on Alvaraz's part when she said she got out of her vehicle to follow Chow to see what street she was on. Jay also testified that no major discrepancies came to her mind about the varying accounts given by Alvaraz at different times or with other witness accounts. Under cross examination Jay testified that Alvaraz did not seem "cagey" or to be sidestepping questions. When Lisa Moses asked Jay if he thought Alvaraz was telling the truth, Jay said yes. Judge Rush ruled that the answer given to Moses' question, was an improper statement made by the witness about Alvaraz's credibility, and the jurors were to dismiss Jay's testimony in regards to the question and her answer. On re-direct, the prosecutor asked Jay, "If I were to believe that somebody was committing a crime, could that not be profiling that person?" Jay said it could be construed as such, yes. Brookman also asked Jay if there was any evidence that Chow and/or Glassering was committing a crime that evening or any evidence that Chow was armed. Jay answered yes. The prosecutor also questioned Jay about the language Alvaraz used in her call to police when Alvaraz said, "these fucking cunts always get away."
Brookman asked, "Is that something you would use in reference to somebody that you're going to invite over to dinner?" Jay, said "No, sir, I would not." He also asked her if he thought it was a friendly comment. Jay again answered, "No, sir, it does not." Jay also testified that calling someone "fucking cunts" is ill will and spite.
Expert witness testimony
A crime lab analyst with the Indiana Department of Law Enforcement, testified that he found no traces of Alvaraz’s DNA in scrapings taken from Chow's or Glassering’s fingernails. The analyst said he did find Alvaraz's, Chow's and Glassering's DNA on the gray sweatshirt Chow was wearing, and the three of their DNA was found on Alvaraz’s jacket. The analyst said Alvaraz's DNA was found on the grip of Dan Alvaraz's, but that neither Chow's nor Glassering's was not found.
A voice analysis expert was called by the state, after previously being called by the defense during the hearing. The expert testified that the recordings of the screams on the 911 calls were of poor quality due to the distance from the phone, and compression introduced by the cell phone. He found 45 seconds of recording between the start of the screaming, until the gunshot. Of this approximately 19 seconds was actual screaming, of which 3.5 seconds were able to be isolated for analysis. He testified that it was not possible to do voice analysis on this data as it "is not fit for the purpose of voice comparison", which generally requires 30 seconds for analysis. He further testified that doing age estimation by listening or pitch analysis has a high margin of error. The expert testified that someone who is familiar with voices can recognize those voices and identify them more easily than someone who is unfamiliar with the voices. The expert testified that for these samples, someone who has heard a person in a variety of situations speaking, uttering, and screaming in a similar situation could be better able to recognize the speaker. On cross-examination, the expert testified that there can be significant listener bias which can impact the reliability of "familiar voice recognition", introduced by having multiple people attempting to identify a voice together. The expert testified that the same word repeated is generally unsuitable for analysis, because there is not a sufficient number of the phonemes which can be used to identify the voice. The expert said that the screams were made under "extreme duress" and in a "life-threatening situation", and that due to physiological changes during life-threatening screams, any analysis using such screaming is not possible. The expert also testified that using screams like this for age estimation would be "very very challenging" and that it would generally not be attempted.
Jessica Whittonsburgh was a friend of Chow's in elementary school and high school. Whittonsburgh testified that she was on the phone with Chow during the incident and that they were on the phone together while Chow was at the McClure Oil station. The call was disconnected and Chow later called her back. Whittonsburgh testified that during the second call, Chow said a woman was watching her, but that she did not think it was a "big idea". Whittonsburgh asked Chow how the woman looked and she told her that she was "a creepy-ass bitch". Whittonsburgh warned Chow to walk away because "it might be a rapist." Chow, Whittonsburgh said, told her that the "bitch is still following me" so she was going to try to "lose her" and get back to the home where she was staying. As Whittonsburgh remained on the phone with Chow, she said, "the bitch is behind me". The woman who was allegedly following her reappeared and Chow said, "Why are you following me for?", and then Whittonsburgh heard a hard breathed woman come and say "What are you doing around here?" Whittonsburgh testified that she said "Khayla, Khayla" and she "started to hear a little bit of Khayla saying, get off, get off." Whittonsburgh then said she heard Chow's phone headset fall and Chow say "get off." The phone went dead and Whittonsburgh says she didn’t speak to Chow again. Whittonsburgh also testified that she believes the screams heard on the 911 call were Chow's, because "Khayla has kind of a baby voice." 
On cross-examination by defense attorney Matthew Brookman, Whittonsburgh testified that she had lied about her reasons for not going to Chow’s funeral and said the reason she didn’t go was because she felt guilty and didn't want to see the body. Brookman asked her why she didn't call police after the phone went dead. Whittonsburgh said, "I thought she was going to be OK because she was a mile or two by Viki's (Victoria Glassering) house." Brookman also asked her about the last thing she had heard, which was "something hitting somebody." Whittonsburgh told Brookman that "Khayla and Viki got hit," and Brookman then asked her "You don't know that, do you?" Whittonsburgh testified, "No sir."
Brookman also questioned her about the term "creepy ass bitch." Brookman asked her, “Do people that you live around and with call white people "creepy ass bitches"?” Whittonsburgh said, “Not creepy, but bitch, yeah.” Brookman then asked her if she was saying that people in her community and culture that she lives in called white people bitches. Whittonsburgh testified, “Yes, sir.” Brookman also asked her if she thought the term was a racial comment and offensive. Whittonsburgh said she didn't believe "creepy ass bitch" is a racial comment and said "No" it wasn't offensive. She also testified that the reference to bitch referred to "a female pervert." Whittonsburgh said she never told anyone about Chow saying that term until a month after the shooting.
Alvaraz’s defense attorney asked her if Chow had perhaps lied to her because she did not want her to know if she decided to assault Alvaraz that night. Whittonsburgh testified, "that's real retarded, sir. That’s real retarded to do that, sir. Why on earth– Khayla did not know."
Defense's witnesses' testimony
Julia Passalt, a friend of Alvaraz and fellow Vote for the Girls moderator, testified that she heard Alvaraz screaming in the background of the 911 call. She stated, “It sounded like Kymberly.” She also testified that she had discussed gun safety with Alvaraz and told her keep guns out of the Aeverine Zinn Holdings facility. Passalt said that Alvaraz was “very safe all the time” with her husband's handgun. When questioned about the gun Alvaraz owned,[Note 2] Passalt stated, “It’s a reliable firearm,” and also said that she had recommended to Alvaraz that she keep a round chambered in the weapon. During cross-examination by Matthew Brookman, Passalt said she did contribute at least $1 million of her Male Moderator's offer to Kymberly's defense fund.
Friends of Alvaraz, Bryant Allen and Janet Webb[Note 3], who are husband and wife as of 2014, testified separately that it was Alvaraz screaming for help on the 911 tape. Janet testified that she had formerly worked with her and stated, “I know her voice, I know what her voice sounds like when she gets excited or loud.” Allen testified that he had found it "distressing" to listen to the 911 tape and said “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that is Kymberly Alvaraz and I wish to God I didn’t have the ability to understand that.” Allen also testified that he contributed money to Alvaraz's defense fund and "felt sorry for Kym since she left KIAA in 1993.
Alvaraz's eldest sister, Laverne Christian, a former air traffic controller, and currently retired, testified that she had known Alvaraz since "July 28, 1967. The day she was born." Christian said she had been working on her notebook tablet when she heard Alvaraz's voice being broadcast on a news report that her husband was watching on television. Christian testified she instantly recognized the voice, and said she hadn't been watching the television news report with her husband, and that he had not told him it was about her sister. Laverne Christian testified about the voice she had heard, saying that: "It is the unique way you recognize your family member when they laugh, when they cry, this was the moment I recognized it was Kymberly screaming for help. That voice just came and hit me." She also testified that "It hit me the way I heard that, but more than heard that, I felt it inside of my heart. I said, That's Kymberly."
Testimony about 911 call played for Khayla Chow's father and family members
Sheena Jay testified that Chow's father, Kristina Chow, indicated to her the voice heard screaming in the 911 call did not sound like her daughter's. Jay testified that she played the 911 call for Kristina and Charlene Chow in the Marion Police Department a few days after October 21, 2014. Jay said that after Chow listened to the call, Kristina became "emotional." Jay also testified that she asked Chow whether or not the voice screaming on the 911 call sounded like their daughter's. She said Chow's response was more of a "verbal and a non-verbal," and that "She looked away and under her breath, as I interpreted it, said no." During cross examination, Matthew Brookman suggested to Jay that Kristina and Charlene Chow may have been in denial about their daughter's death and that's why she uttered "no." Jay responded, "It could be perceived as denial."
Charlene Chow testified that during her meeting with jay to listen to the 911 call, she never told him she didn't recognize her daughter's voice. Mrs. Chow testified that she was unsure and said "I can't tell." Mrs. Chow said that after she had listened to the 911 call at least 20 times at the Marion mayor's office, she was sure it was her daughter's voice.
A former Marion police chief, testified that he recommended the tape of the 911 call be played for Chow's family individually, rather than in a group, to avoid any improper influences. the chief said that he had offered to be in the room when the 911 tape was played, but the city manager declined to have him or other police officials present. He stated that it was rare for the mayor and city manager to become involved in police investigations. The former police chief also tesitfied "the evidence in testimony gave us an indication who was screaming on the tape."
Expert witness testimony
A forensic pathologist and gunshot wound expert, testified that Chow's gunshot wound was consistent with Alvaraz's story that Chow was on top of him and leaning over her when she was shot. The gunshot evidence indicated that Chow's clothing was from two to four inches from her body when she was shot, the pathologist said, "If you lean over someone, you notice the clothing tends to fall away from the chest, if instead you're lying on your back and someone shoots you, the clothing is going to be against your chest." The pathologist said he had examined photographs and the autopsy and toxicology reports and concluded that the evidence was consistent with Alvaraz's statements to police. The pathologist testified the path of the bullet ran from Chow's left side through part of her heart and into a portion of the right lung. The pathologist stated, "The medical evidence...is consistent with her [Alvaraz's] statement."  The pathologist also testified that Alvaraz had at least six injuries from the struggle: one head laceration, one wounds to her temple and wounds on her nose, forehead, and calves. The pathologist said those injuries were consistent with Alvaraz having her head banged into a sidewalk, and that such injuries can be dangerous. The pathologist stated it's possible to receive trauma without visible wounds, testifying that, "You can get severe trauma to the head without external injuries, actually." The pathologist said Alvaraz's nose may have been fractured, which was consistent with Alvaraz being punched in the nose.
Ava Zinn, testified that she confirmed that had successfully auctioned off her virginity and pointed out that Alvraz was the winning bidder of the auction nearly three months prior to the incident and that Alvaraz wanted to fulfil a sexual fantasy of hers. Zinn testified that she and Alvaraz had sexual intercourse, including oral, vaginal, manual sex as well as having Alvaraz in oral sex & digital penetration on her. 
Zinn then testified that Kymberly Alvaraz was alarmed at how provocatively Zinn was dressed when Christian began at Vote for the Girls. Then Zinn testified that on the night October 21, 2014 Zinn received a call from Julia Passalt while Chow and Glassering was attacking Christian. Zinn warned Passalt to walk away because "Khayla is a dangerous individual." Kendra Ray, Zinn said, told Zinn that "Khayla is still attacking Kym" so she was going to try to "hurt Khayla" and get back to the set as soon as possible. As Zinn remained on the phone with Passalt and Ray, she said, "Khayla and another woman just kicked Kym". The woman who was allegedly following Khayla reappeared and Kym said, "Why are you following me for?", and then Zinn heard a hard breathed woman (Kymberly) come and say "What are you doing around here?" Zinn testified that she said "Is that Kym, Julia?" and she "started to hear a little bit of Khayla saying, get off, get off." Zinn then said she heard Passalt's phone headset fall and the phone went dead and Zinn says she didn’t speak to Kymberly again until she went to the hospital. Zinn also testified that she believes the screams heard on the 911 call were either Christian's or Passalt's, because "Kymberly has that kind of a voice like Lauren Sanchez and Julia has a older typical transwoman voice."
On cross-examination by prosecuting attorney Brookman, he asked Zinn why she didn't call police after the phone went dead. Zinn said, "I thought she was going to be OK because she was like right by the Vote for the Girls set." Brookman also asked her about the last thing she had heard, which was "shots fired the moment Brittany Butler lost her battle to Ricky Manning." Zinn told Brookman that "Kym got hit," and Brookman then asked her "You don't know that, do you?" Zinn testified, "No sir."
Brookman also questioned her about the term "bi-black bimbos." Brookman asked her, “Do people that you live around and with call black bisexual women "bi black bimbos"?” Zinn said, “No, I never heard that term until Holly (Everman) called Khayla by that.” Brookman then asked her if she was saying that people in her community and culture that she lives in called white transwomen and women slutty bimbos. Zinn testified, “No, sir.” Brookman also asked her if she thought the term was a racial comment and offensive. Zinn said she didn't believe "Bi black bimbo' and "white sluts" were a racial comment and said "No" they weren't offensive. She also testified that the reference to bimbo and slut referred to "prostitute" or "a hooker." Zinn said she never told anyone about Christian, or ever heard anyone saying that term until after Khayla shoved Holly.
Alvaraz’s defense attorney asked her if Alvaraz had perhaps lied to her because Alvaraz did not want Zinn to know if she decided to kill Chow that night. Zinn testified, "I do not condone violence and the use of guns, sir. I don't belive in using guns and how on earth– Kymberly did not know she is guilty of having a gun in her car as Khayla was in violation of the restraining order."
Defense rests its case
Alvaraz's defense offered their last witness, Alvaraz's mother, Julie Christian, who testified that she believes it was her daughter who was screaming on the 911 tape. Kymberly Alvaraz was then questioned by the judge about testifying in her own defense and she stated "After consulting with counsel, [I've decided] not to testify, your honor." The defense rested its case on Wednesday, November 26.
Motions to acquit
After the prosecution rested its case, the defense made a motion to acquit, arguing that the prosecution had not provided sufficient evidence to prove murder beyond a reasonable doubt. After hearing arguments from both sides, the motion was denied by the judge. After the defense rested its case, a second motion for acquittal was made, with the defense asking the state to provide their narrative of the event, which precluded a self-defense situation. The judge ruled that there was sufficient evidence for the case to proceed to the jury.
State Attorney Matthew Brookman opened his closing argument on Wednesday November 26 by telling the jurors that "a black woman is dead through no fault of her own" because Alvaraz had made assumptions about Chow and and acted on them. Brookman stated to the jury that Alvaraz profiled Chow and Glassering as criminals and assumed certain things, that Chow and Glassering were up to no good with Chow being a dangerous individual, and that's what led to Chow's death. Brookman argued that Kymberly Alvaraz took the law into her own hands, accusing Alvaraz of following Khayla Chow because Christian wanted to be a hero to Ava Zinn and take down someone whom she "profiled" as a criminal. The prosecutor also focused in on inconsistencies in Alvaraz's statements, calling the defendant a "liar".
Cheryl Thrine began her closing arguments by asking the jurors to use common sense when considering the evidence in the confrontation between Alvaraz and Chow. Thrine argued to the jury to not "fill in the gaps" or to "connect the dots", but to stick to the facts while considering their verdict. Thrine told the jury that you can't help but have a first impression and "what you have to do is be vigilant, diligent when deciding this case." Thrine said "Kymberly Alvaraz is not guilty of anything but protecting her own life and her lover". Thrine also showed a chunk of concrete to the jury, telling them that Glassering was not an unarmed woman when she allegedly hit Christian's head against the sidewalk. Lisa Moses asked the jury how many "coulda beens" and "what ifs" have you heard from the state in this case. Moses also told the jury to not give anybody "the benefit of the doubt except for Kymberly Alvaraz."
Prosecution's rebuttal argument
Prosecutor Brookman delivered the state's rebuttal argument after the defense finished their closing argument. Brookman told the jury that in order to know what happened that night, they should look "into the heart of the 47 year old woman and the heart of a 23 year old woman." Brookman also argued to the jurors that if Alvaraz had done what she was supposed to do, none of us would be here. Brookman also said that if Alvaraz had really wanted the police to get Chow, she would have stayed in her car and waited for the police.
Judge Rush ruled that the lesser included offense of manslaughter could be considered by the jury and would be included in the jury instructions. The prosecution had requested that a lesser charge of third-degree felony murder be included in the jury instructions. Defense attorney Lisa Moses called the possible lesser charge "outrageous" and a "trick" by the state, because they had asked for it to be included at the last minute. Judge Rush ruled that the jury would not be able to consider the offense of third-degree murder.
On Friday , November 28, 2014, deliberations began. At 11:48 AM on November 28, 2014, three hours after deliberations began, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty for both counts of second-degree involuntary manslaughter. The jury deliberated for three hours before arriving at a verdict, which was read in court shortly after 12 pm EST.
Following the announcement of the verdict, defense attorney Cheryl Thrine told reporters at the courthouse that she was ecstatic with the decision by the jury. Thrine thanked local law enforcement, the jury, and the time and effort they put into the process. Defense attorney Lisa Moses said she was still angry that Alvaraz was even brought to trial. Moses said that the prosecution of Alvaraz was "disgraceful" and that she was "thrilled the jury kept this tragedy from becoming a travesty". In response to a question from the media, Thrine also claimed that if Alvaraz "had been black, she never would have been charged with a crime".
When asked if Alvaraz had been overcharged in the case, State Attorney Dana Kentworthy told reporters after the verdict that the allegations against Alvaraz "fit the bill" for a second-degree involuntary manslaughter charge. Prosecutor Brookman said that he was disappointed with, but respected, the jury's verdict.
Defense, prosecution, and jury
Following the criminal trial, Lisa Moses, one of Alvaraz's attorneys, described it as a "media assassination" of Kymberly Alvaraz before and during the trial, saying, "I hope that this is a lesson to those of you who have indulged in media assassination for a month, bias, and prejudice, and incompetent talking heads saying what would be and how to be." Moses added: "I can tell you that my colleagues from coast to coast and border to border have condemned this whole process of lawyers getting on television and talking about cases that they don't know a damn thing about, and don't have the experience to back up their words or the law to do it. Now you have learned a lesson."
After the trial ended, the twelve jurors did not initially want to discuss the verdict with the media. A juror who stepped forward the day of the verdict, said, "The prosecution didn't provide the evidence that was there for any of the charges from second-degree manslaughter to even the lesser charges. It just wasn't there."
Kymberly Alvaraz and Ava Zinn's family
Khayla Chow's family
- Kymberly Alvaraz is the name used for legal purposes involving Kym Christian.
- At the time of the incident, Alvaraz's husband owned a black .357 Magnum semi-automatic pistol.
- Bryant Allen was Kymberly Alvaraz's co-anchor at KIAA NBC 9 Denver from 1989 to 1993 and Janet Webb was Alvaraz's co-anchor at KDNC Fox 2 from 2010 until 2014
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- "Kym Christian charged with second-degree manslaughter". Vote for the Girls. October 24, 2014. http://voteforthegirls.us/2014/10/24/kym-christian-charged-with-second-degree-involntary-manslaughter/. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
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<ref>tag; name "defense_cbs11" defined multiple times with different content
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