Michael Hernandez Murders Classmate

Michael Hernandez was a fourteen year old from Florida when he would murder his classmate Jaime Gough

According to court documents Michael Hernandez would lure fourteen year old Jaime Gough to the restroom at Southwood Middle School. Once in the school bathroom Michael would stab Jaime repeatedly and would cut his throat. Hernandez would then head back to class

When Michael Hernandez was arrested he would make a full confession to police, see video below, and told officers that the murder had been in the works for some time.

Michael would be sentenced to life in prison without parole

Michael Hernandez would die in prison on April 29 2021 from a heart irregularity

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Michael Hernandez

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When Did Michael Hernandez Die

Michael Hernandez died on April 29 2021

How Did Michael Hernandez Die

Michael Hernandez died from a heart irregularity

Michael Hernandez Case

On February 3, 2004, Michael Hernandez was an eighth grade student in a gifted program at Southwood Middle School. That morning, a fellow student walked into a bathroom on the second floor of the school and saw Hernandez washing his hands. The student also saw in the reflection of a mirror another student collapsed in a toilet stall with blood on the floor. The student asked Hernandez if he had seen the body and Hernandez replied, “Yes, we should tell somebody.” Hernandez then left the bathroom and went to class. The other student hurriedly notified school officials.

The resulting investigation revealed that the student in the stall, J.G., had died. His throat had been cut and he had been stabbed in the neck and face. J.G. was a fourteen-year-old male in the eighth grade who was a friend of Hernandez. Police investigators were called to the scene and quickly discovered a bloody windbreaker and a latex glove in Hernandez’s book bag. In the early evening, Hernandez waived his Miranda2 rights and confessed to J.G.’s murder.

According to his videotaped confession, and the evidence admitted at the trial, Hernandez planned for over a week to murder both J.G. and another male student, A.M., who was thirteen years old.

Regarding the murder of J.G. on February 3, 2004, Hernandez first convinced J.G. to join him in the bathroom. Hernandez normally did not wear a hat or jacket. Once inside the bathroom that morning, however, he donned a hat, jacket, and latex gloves. Hernandez later explained that the hat was intended to keep hair follicles from falling on the crime scene; the jacket, which could easily be removed and hidden, was intended to keep blood off his shirt; and the gloves were intended to prevent palm prints and fingerprints. He coaxed J.G. into the handicapped stall. He locked the stall door. He turned J.G., so that he was facing away from him. He drew a gravity knife with a four-inch serrated blade from his right front pocket. As J.G. began to protest, Hernandez placed his left hand over J.G.’s mouth. At some point, J.G. pushed the edge of the knife away with his right hand, opening wounds in the pads of his index and middle fingers. Hernandez made several cuts across J.G.’s throat from left to right, finally making an incision four to five inches long that opened J.G.’s windpipe and severed both jugular veins. To determine if J.G. was alive, Hernandez poked the knife into his face and scalp. When he finally checked J.G.’s eyes, they were motionless. He flushed one pair of latex gloves down the toilet and put on another pair. He washed blood off his hands, jacket, and face.

Hernandez also confessed that he tried to kill A.M. the day before. Hernandez explained that, on February 2, 2004, he had lured A.M. into the same second-floor bathroom, but the thirteen-year-old balked at entering the stall. Regarding his plan, Hernandez said:

DETECTIVE: And what were your intentions yesterday?

HERNANDEZ: My intentions yesterday were to kill [A.M.] the same way I killed [J.G.] today, except for the fact that I was going to stab him in the back, and stab here. And that would have been it.

According to Dr. Steven Hoge, the defense’s psychiatrist, Hernandez decided to kill J.G. and A.M. because they knew he intended to kill others when he turned eighteen.

Shortly after confessing, Hernandez was indicted for first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. The defense raised the issue of whether Hernandez was competent to stand trial.3 At the first competency hearing, held in November 2004, the court-appointed experts, Dr. Vanessa Archer, a psychologist, and Dr. Jon Shaw, a psychiatrist, testified that Michael Hernandez did not suffer from paranoid schizophrenia or any mental illness that impacted his competency. After reviewing the relevant factors, they concluded he was competent to stand trial. The defense’s expert, Dr. Barry Rosenfeld, a psychologist, testified that Hernandez’s symptoms strongly indicated that he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, which impaired his ability to meet some of the competency criteria. But Dr. Rosenfeld did not render an ultimate opinion on Hernandez’s competency. After hearing the testimony, the trial court entered an order finding that, although Hernandez suffered from mental illness, he was competent to stand trial.

As trial approached, the defense moved for an updated review of Hernandez’s competency. The court appointed Dr. Ralph Richardson, a psychologist, and again appointed Dr. Archer to conduct updated evaluations. In September 2008, a second competency hearing was held. At the hearing, the court took judicial notice of Dr. Rosenfeld’s prior testimony. It also heard from Dr. Richardson, who acknowledged that Hernandez had an obsessive compulsive disorder, but who testified that Hernandez was competent to stand trial. Dr. Archer testified that her second evaluation indicated that Hernandez suffered from a severe obsessive compulsive disorder, chronic depression, and a dysthymic disorder. Nevertheless, Michael Hernandez remained, in her opinion, competent to stand trial. At the conclusion of the hearing, based upon the testimony of the experts and his own observations, the trial court deemed Hernandez competent.

Although the indictment was originally filed in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in Miami–Dade County, the case was transferred to the Ninth Judicial Circuit in Orange County, due to pretrial publicity. At the trial, after the conclusion of the State’s case-in-chief, defense counsel moved for a judgment of acquittal on the attempted first-degree murder charge, arguing that there was no overt act done toward the commission of the crime. The motion was denied. Michael Hernandez then presented evidence which focused on his defense that he was legally insane at the time of the crimes. The jury rejected Hernandez’s insanity defense and returned a guilty verdict on both counts. Venue was then transferred back to the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, where Hernandez was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder and to a consecutive term of thirty years for attempted first-degree murder


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