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Sex assault, slaying suspect changes mind on guilty plea

Guillermo Alvarado Ajcuc, 21, pleaded not guilty to

Guillermo Alvarado Ajcuc, 21, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Mirian Yohanna Garcia, 29, of Flanders. (May 16, 2012) Credit: SCPD

A Riverside man accused of sexually assaulting and killing a woman in a parking lot last year decided Wednesday he did not want to plead guilty, and his case was put back on the trial calendar in County Court in Riverhead.

Guillermo Alvarado-Ajcuc, 22, had offered to plead guilty to second-degree murder in return for a sentence of 20 years to life, the judge and the prosecutor said.

Alvarado-Ajcuc, a Guatemalan native, spoke privately with his attorney, Eileen Powers, through an interpreter for about five minutes before she asked the judge whether the sentence under a plea could be changed to a flat 25 years.

"No. I can't do that," Judge John J. Toomey Jr. said. He adjourned the case for trial on Nov. 18, when Alvarado-Ajcuc will face a second-degree murder charge for which he could receive 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

Alvarado-Ajcuc had followed Mirian Yohanna Garcia, 29, of Flanders, out of the Sabor Latino Restaurant on Old Country Road in Riverhead on May 6, 2012, and attacked her in the parking lot that the restaurant shares with other stores and the state Department of Motor Vehicles, prosecutors said last year. Her body was found the next morning in a wooded area near the parking lot.

Assistant District Attorney Glenn Kurtzrock said at an earlier court proceeding that Alvarado-Ajcuc told another person that he had hurt a girl, and word spread in the local Guatemalan community.

Someone told homicide detectives what they had heard, and the defendant confessed after he was picked up, the prosecutor said.

Kurtzrock said the victim in the case was athletic and resisted. In response, Garcia's attacker wrapped his belt around her neck and strangled her to death during the sexual attack, the prosecutor said.

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