Alvarez's cousin, Beto, took the stand Thursday. He was just one of the family members who said Juan was a disaster waiting to happen, even before the train wreck that killed 11 people.
"Every time he had a problem in his life, the first option was trying to commit suicide," said Beto Alvarez, Juan Alvarez's cousin.
Beto wanted to tell his cousin's story Thursday. He told of how Juan was beaten as a child and had no loving parent.
"His father was a heroin user, a coke user, and a drug dealer," said Beto.
Juan had claimed he was only trying to kill himself that January morning in 2005. According to family, he had attempted suicide many times before. They say he had tried lying in the street so he could be hit by a bus, he attempted suicide with a clothesline in the back yard, and they also said he started using meth when he was eleven.
Michael Belter, Juan Alvarez's defense attorney, told the jury about Alvarez's auditory and visual hallucinations.
The prosecution tried, but failed to keep the jury from hearing a voicemail in court. It was Alvarez calling his cousin minutes after the wreck. He asked Beto to take good care of his wife and his kids. The defense said it spoke to Alvarez's remorse and why he should be spared the death sentence.
Juan's message said: "I didn't meant [mean] to do this, Beto. A lot of innocent people died. I don't deserve to live, Beto. I apologize for everything. Please pray for me. Please."
Beto said they tried to save his cousin in the past. He says they called police when Juan became violent.
"Our hands were tied. We were really praying to God that the police would pick him up so that he wouldn't hurt anybody," said Beto.
Beto said the police could not do anything because Juan had not committed a crime.