BREAKING: 3 Life Sentences for Robert Alvarez in Circle K murders

Robert Alvarez sits in court Monday, February 22, 2016, as jury selection gets under way in Judge Charles Burton's courtroom. Alvarez is one of two men accused in the case involving the 2010 murders of two store clerks at a Greenacres Circle K during a robbery. Circuit Judge Charles Burton will be at least the fourth judge to handle the case surrounding the murders of Ralston Muller and Michael Dean Bennett. Gershman got permission from the court to cover up Alvarez's facial tattoos with makeup. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

Robert Alvarez sits in court Monday, February 22, 2016, as jury selection gets under way in Judge Charles Burton’s courtroom. Alvarez is one of two men accused in the case involving the 2010 murders of two store clerks at a Greenacres Circle K during a robbery. Circuit Judge Charles Burton will be at least the fourth judge to handle the case surrounding the murders of Ralston Muller and Michael Dean Bennett. Gershman got permission from the court to cover up Alvarez’s facial tattoos with makeup. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

UPDATE 1:59 p.m.: Robert Alvarez was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences based on a jury’s verdict moments ago convicting him in the murders of two Greenacres Circle K store clerks.

“I love you son, we’ll be back,” Alvarez’s mother, Lisa, said to her son as he was led from the courtroom.

Circuit Judge Charles Burton handed out the sentence without comment at the end of a brief sentencing hearing immediately after the jury’s verdict.

Lisa Alvarez told the judge she believed her son was an innocent man caught in a vicious law enforcement conspiracy that destroyed her family.

When Burton asked Alvarez to speak, he declined.

“I’m good. I’m straight. I’m fine,” he said.

UPDATE 1:39 p.m.: A Palm Beach County jury has just found Robert Alvarez guilty of two counts of first degree murder and a charge of armed robbery in connection with the 2010 robbery at a Greenacres Circle K where two clerks were shot to death.

The verdict mirrors the outcome of Alvarez’s first trial in 2012, when a jury convicted both Alvarez and co-defendant Darnell Razz in the deaths of Michael Dean Bennett and Ralston Muller. Those convictions were overturned on appeal.

Tuesday’s verdicts mean Alvarez will again face a certain sentence of life in prison, a punishment a judge handed to Razz last year when a second jury convicted him.

UPDATE 1:26 p.m.: Jurors have just reached a verdict in the 2010 double murder case against Robert Alvarez.

The latest jury for Alvarez, who has had several cases end with hung juries after his first conviction in 2012 was overturned, announced they had a verdict about just 90 minutes of deliberation Tuesday that included lunch.

UPDATE 12:06 p.m.: A Palm Beach County jury is now deliberating what has become the sixth trial for one of two men accused in the 2010 robbery that ended in the shooting deaths of two store clerks at a Greenacres Circle K.

Closing arguments ended just before noon with final words from Assistant State Attorney Andrew Slater, who told jurors that there was irrefutable direct evidence tying Alvarez to the murders of Michael Dean Bennett and Ralston Muller.

Prosecutors have said that Alvarez’s co-defendant, Darnell Razz is the one who shot the store clerks in the robbery that netted the assailants just $71.

But under the law of principals, Slater said, Alvarez should be held responsible for the murders if jurors conclude that he participated in the robbery, whether he was the shooter or not.

As for defense attorney Robert Gershman’s rebuttals of text messages Alvarez sent while investigators were looking for a break in the case, Slater said Alvarez would never have sent his now often-repeated text of “jus pray”to a friend if he wasn’t involved in the murder.

“They get the whopping sum of $71,” Slater said of Alvarez and Razz, before adding of the victims: “And two hard-working innocent guys, who are cooperating, get murdered.”

Circuit Judge Charles Burton sent the 12-member jury into the deliberation room at around noon.

UPDATE 11:47 a.m.: When you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything, defense attorney Robert Gershman told a group of jurors Tuesday morning.

That’s why, he said, jurors should consider inconsistencies and memory lapses on behalf of some witnesses in Robert Alvarez’s murder trial as signs that prosecutors don’t have nearly enough evidence to prove that Alvarez participated in the 2010 robbery that killed two Greenacres Circle K store clerks.

“There’s no one that came him in here, pointed to him and said I saw him do it,” Gershman said.

As he had at the start of the trial last week, Gershman pointed out that a witness saw two black men near the scene of the fatal robbery. Alvarez is a white Hispanic man.

Prosecutors, Gershman said, were trying to convince jurors that Alvarez was the instigator behind a sophisticated, cold-blooded killing.

But would a sophisticated, trained robber and killer celebrate possibly getting away with the murders while in a jail day room surrounded by other inmates.

No, Gershman said, telling jurors that a fellow inmate who testified about the incident was lying to get a sentencing break on his own unrelated charges.

Gershman also disputed earlier statements of prosecutors who said Alvarez sent an incriminating text message to a friend while a dive team scoured a canal where they eventually found a gun prosecutors have tied to the robbery.

“It’s not, ‘just pray for me,'” Gershman said of the message. “It’s ‘just pray.'”

UPDATE 10:49 a.m.: Phone records, forensics and the testimony of his own friends all implicate Robert Alvarez in a 2010 robbery that ended with the deaths of two store clerks at a Greenacres Circle K, a prosecutor told a Palm Beach County jury Tuesday.

Assistant State Attorney Aleathea McRoberts, in closing arguments for what has become Alvarez’s sixth trial in the deaths of Michael Dean Bennett and Ralston Muller, told jurors that an “overwhelming” amount of circumstantial evidence tied Alvarez to the crime.

Among the evidence, McRoberts said, is a series of text messages she said corroborates the testimony of Alvarez’s friend Marshayla Garland, who testified that she was unwittingly the getaway car driver for Alvarez and co-defendant Darnell Razz after the deadly April 2010 robbery.

“This is somebody she cared about, that she thought cared about her, to think he would’ve put her in that position – she didn’t think that was possible,” McRoberts said of Garland.

McRoberts also recapped the testimony of a jail inmate who reported seeing Alvarez celebrating as he watched a news report about authorities still looking for leads in the case.

Defense attorney Robert Gershman is now delivering his last words to jurors.

ORIGINAL POST: Attorneys on Tuesday are expected to deliver their closing arguments in the latest of several murder trials for Robert Alvarez, one of two men accused in the deadly 2010 robbery where one of them gunned down a pair of store clerks at a Greenacres Circle K.

Alvarez’s latest trial began a week ago Tuesday, and testimony ended Monday with ballistics experts and a medical examiner who testified about the fatal injuries to Michael Dean Bennett and Ralston Muller. The men were working in April 2010 when surveillance video showed two masked men entered the convenience store toting guns.

One of those men – prosecutors say it was Alvarez’s co-defendant Darnell Razz – eventually opened shot both clerks. A store manager testified that the robbers made off with $71.

A jury had originally convicted both Alvarez and Razz in 2012, but their convictions were separately overturned on appeal.

Since then, no jury has been able to reach a unanimous verdict on Alvarez. A jury last year convicted Razz again, and he was re-sentenced to life in prison, although he is appealing again.

Circuit Judge Charles Burton sent jurors home early Monday after Assistant State Attorneys Andrew Slater and Aleathea McRoberts and defense attorneys Robert Gershman and Douglas Leifert both rested their cases.

Burton estimated that jurors will begin deciding the case after closing arguments conclude early Tuesday afternoon.