Calif. alarm company owner charged with murder

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Thursday, December 11, 2003

December 11, 2003

LODI, Calif. - Paul Alamo, owner of alarm installation and service company Alamo Alarm Co., based here, was arrested last week and charged with murder in the shooting death of a man nearly two months ago.

On Friday, Alamo turned himself in to face the charges, which the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office filed last month. He also faces an enhanced charge that alleges that a firearm was used in the commission of the crime.

Alamo, who is free on $333,000 bail, is charged in the killing of Mark Hasty of Lodi on Oct. 13. Police did not arrest Alamo initially in connection with the killing because he said he acted in self-defense. He appeared in court last Friday to answer the charges. Through his attorney, Ralph Cingcon of Stockton, he pleaded not guilty.

According to The (Stockton) Record, Deputy District Attorney Lester Fleming had asked that Lodi’s bail be set at $200,000, but Judge David Warner imposed the higher amount, which is one-third of the usual $1 million bail in murder cases.

Court documents claim that the two men confronted each other in their neighborhood and Alamo allegedly shot Hasty twice in the chest. According to police, the only potential weapon they found on Hasty, who was a house painter, was a combination putty knife and razor blade, which was in his pocket when he was shot. Alamo did not have a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Last Thursday, Hasty’s family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Alamo.

According to KXTV in Sacramento, the case was initially reported as a confrontation between a security guard and a trespasser. Instead, the station reported, Hasty believed security company owner Alamo was driving too fast on a dirt road adjoining his (Hasty’s) property, near the site of a home under construction.

In a statement, the Stockton County DA’s office said the decision to arrest and charge Alamo stemmed from police officers’ belief that what had been construed as self-defense was actually a murder committed in the heat of anger.

A woman who answered the phone at Alamo Alarm declined to give her name but said that Alamo is not speaking to the media. She referred calls about the case to Cingcon of Stockton, who did not return phone calls prior to the newswire deadline. After Alamo’s court appearance last week, Cingcon told The (Stockton) Record he was confident his client would not be found guilty.

"We look forward to the opportunity to present the evidence in court, and I am supremely confident that my client will be vindicated,” Cingcon told The Record.

Attorney Mark Bowman, who filed the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Hasty’s family, said Alamo’s self-defense claim is unfounded.

"Hasty was a number of yards away when he was shot,” Bowman said. “Alamo was close to his car. He could have gotten in the car, locked the doors, closed the windows and driven away.”

If convicted, Alamo could face a sentence of 50 years to life in prison. He has operated Alamo Alarm since he started the business in 1982.