Cristian "Cristy" Zugey Alvarez
Cristian "Cristy" Zugey Alvarez
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A transgender man has been charged with killing a young Wilmington woman last year in a crime that sparked outrage among residents concerned with violence in their community.

Angel Guevara Bello, 32, of Wilmington appeared Wednesday for arraignment in Long Beach court on one count of murder in the Jan. 2, 2012, slaying of Cristian "Cristy" Zugey Alvarez. The proceeding was postponed to Jan. 30. Guevara Bello was held on more than $1 million bail.

Guevara Bello is suspected of killing Alvarez, a 28-year-old mother of two children whose body was discovered under bushes and behind a large wrought iron fence next to the train tracks on L Street near Hyatt Avenue.

Police said the Wilmington woman's throat was cut and her pants had been pulled down.

Los Angeles police Capt. William Hayes, who heads his department's robbery-homicide investigative bureau, declined to release details about the motive for the slaying, saying the circumstances and evidence will be saved for court proceedings. Hayes, captain of the Harbor Division at the time of the slaying, said witness statements and physical evidence led to Guevara Bello.

At the time of the killing, a man who lived across the street from where the body was found told the Daily Breeze he heard a woman scream three times about 4:30 a.m., along with what sounded like a baby crying. He looked out his window and saw a white mid-1990s compact car parked on the street with a man at the wheel.

Some Wilmington residents said in recent days that they had heard rumors that a suspect was in custody for the killing, but police continued to keep mum about their investigation. Jail records show Guevara Bello was arrested Oct. 5 for what Hayes said was a domestic violence incident.

Los Angeles County court records show Guevara Bello was ordered Oct. 23 by a Long Beach judge to stand trial on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm.

The District Attorney's Office filed the murder charge Jan. 10. Detectives notified Alvarez's family Tuesday evening, Hayes said.

Court records also show Guevara Bello - whose name is also listed as Guevarabello - was charged on June 10, 2011, with prostitution, battery on a police officer, battery and driving without a license. Four months later, Guevara Bello was convicted of the license charge. The other counts were dismissed or not prosecuted.

In court Wednesday afternoon, about a dozen men chained in pairs were brought into a large cage to appear before the judge. They were arraigned one by one.

Guevara Bello, who is listed on jail booking records as a 5-foot-6, 130-pound man with brown hair and brown eyes, was brought out separately, outside of the cage. He was placed in an area away from public view.

Guevara Bello, wearing light green jail attire, had long hair below his shoulders and appeared to have women's breasts.

"Ma'am, you have a right to be arraigned today," Judge James Otto said to the defendant. Police confirmed that Guevara Bello asked to be referred to as a woman.

During the past year, Alvarez's death triggered an outpouring of prayer and activism in the community. Following the slaying, Wilmington residents attended a candlelight vigil, created a makeshift memorial with votive candles, flowers, rosary beads and the young woman's photograph, and donated money to pay for her funeral expenses.

Alvarez grew up in Wilmington, attended Banning High School, lived with her boyfriend and was raising her daughter and son. She worked at a bakery, family members said.

In the weeks that followed, a rash of shootings and homicides in Wilmington prompted demands for more police protection. In response, the LAPD increased the number of officers in the area.

Residents also conducted weekly peace marches to retake control of their streets.

larry.altman@dailybreeze.com

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