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WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2000-U.S. Department of Agriculture Inspector General Roger Viadero announced today that Stuart Alexander of San Leandro, Calif., was indicted Sept. 19 by a grand jury in Alameda County, Calif., for the murder of two USDA employees and one State of California employee, as well as the attempted murder of another State of California employee. Arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 12.

 The indictment alleged that, on June 21, 2000, Alexander used a handgun to murder USDA Compliance Officers Jeannie Hillery and Tom Quadros, and California Senior Investigator Bill Shaline, and that he used a handgun in order to attempt to murder another individual. The indictment further alleged that these murders were in retaliation for or to prevent the government employees from performing their official duties.

 "Workplace violence is a terrible event no matter who is involved," said Viadero. "It hits especially hard and close to home when the victims are members of the USDA family."

 Viadero said that the government employees were killed while performing their official duties at Santos Linguisa Factory in San Leandro, Calif. Alexander was the owner and operator of the establishment.

 If convicted, Alexander could be subject to the death penalty.

 "Needless to say, we hope that this tragic matter will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said Viadero. "Violence against any USDA employee is flat-out unacceptable."

 Alameda County District Attorney Thomas J. Orloff is directing prosecution of this matter, in coordination with United States Attorney Robert S. Mueller, Northern District of California, San Francisco, Calif. The prosecutors are being assisted by investigators from the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and USDA's Office of Inspector General. Additional technical assistance is being provided by compliance officers of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.