Calif. alarm company owner charged with murder

SSN Staff  - 
Thursday, January 1, 2004

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

On Dec. 5, Alamo turned himself in to face the charges, which the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office filed in November. He also faces an enhanced charge of using a firearm in the commission of a 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 Dec. 5 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 Alamo’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.

On Dec. 4, 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 that was 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. The change of opinion was based on several weeks’ worth of investigation and interviews.

A woman who answered the phone at Alamo Alarm declined to give her name but said Alamo is not speaking to the media. She referred calls to Cingcon, who did not return phone calls seeking comment. After Alamo’s court appearance, Cingcon told The Record he was confident his client would not be found guilty.

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.