March 28, 2012 Texas Man Executed for 10-Month-Old Boy's Death
A convicted child sex offender was executed Wednesday for the beating death of a 10-month-old boy he was baby-sitting at a home in Dallas.
Jesse Joe Hernandez smiled and laughed at times before receiving a lethal injection for the slaying of Karlos Borja 11 years ago.
"God bless everybody. Continue to walk with God," the 47-year-old Hernandez said. Moments later, he shouted "Go Cowboys!" in honor of his favorite football team.
As the drugs took effect, the condemned man repeated his appreciation for those he knew who had gathered to witness the execution. "Love y'all, man," Hernandez said. "... Thank you. I can feel it, taste it. It's not bad."
He took about 10 deep breaths, which grew progressively weaker until he was no longer moving. 10 minutes later, at 6:18 p.m. CDT, he was pronounced dead.
No one related to the slain child attended the execution, the 4th this year in Texas. It was carried out about 2 hours after the U.S. Supreme Court denied last-ditch appeals for Hernandez.
10-month-old Karlos was taken to a Dallas hospital in April 2001 with a skull fracture and bruises to his head, thigh and abdomen. A week later, he was taken off life support and died. His 4-year-old sister had similar beating injuries to her head, ears and eyes but survived.
Hernandez's DNA was found in Karlos' blood on a pillowcase and on the child's clothing. The boy's sister drew stick figures for detectives to help describe her attack.
Hernandez denied beating the children but later told a detective he may have hit the boy with a flashlight. He did not include the flashlight reference in a written confession in which he said he "just exploded" and struck them with the back of his hand.
"They were being very bad by crying a lot for nothing," Hernandez wrote.
Howard Blackmon, the former assistant district attorney in Dallas County who prosecuted Hernandez, recalled seeing photos of the badly bruised boy connected to tubes while in the hospital and his sister's red, bruised forehead.
"I don't think Hernandez admitted to any intent to kill," he said. "He did admit to striking."
Jurors saw those images and also learned that Hernandez had a previous conviction for molesting a child and drug possession, had beat his ex-wife with a baseball bat, burned a girlfriend's child with cigarettes and was found with a shank while locked up in jail.
Court records showed Hernandez and his wife of 6 years had been living with the 2 children and their 22-year-old mother about 3 days in a Dallas house that had no running water. Hernandez and his wife were to watch the children while their mother was working as a waitress.
On April 11, 2001, Hernandez's wife left to run some errands. When she returned he told her the kids were sleeping and not to disturb them. Hours later, after their mother returned from work, the girl complained her head was hurting and the mother took her to a hospital. While they were gone, Hernandez's wife checked on Karlos, discovered his injuries and called paramedics. Police were then notified.
In trying to stop the execution, Hernandez's attorneys unsuccessfully argued that his trial lawyers were deficient because they didn't pursue evidence that the boy was prematurely removed from life support and had toxic levels of the drug pentobarbital in his blood. The same barbiturate is used in the execution process in Texas.
The attorneys also claimed an initial appeals lawyer did not investigate the case beyond the trial record and that failure cost Hernandez his lone opportunity to raise substantive legal claims following his conviction.
Brad Levenson, director of the Texas Office of Capital Writs, said a more thorough investigation could have shown Hernandez wasn't responsible for the child's death.
The Texas attorney general's office opposed any delay, questioning whether the high court even had jurisdiction in the case because constitutional claims weren't raised earlier in state courts.
Hernandez becomes the 4th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas and the 481st overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982. Hernandez becomes the 242nd condemned inmate to be put to death since Rick Perry became governor of Texas in 2001.
At least 6 other condemned Texas inmates have execution dates scheduled for the coming months.
Hernandez becomes the 12th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1289th overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977. As many as 8 executions may be carried out in the USA in April.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)
JESSE JOE HERNANDEZ
My name is Jesse Joe Hernandez. I am 44 years and will be 45 years in June 098. I am a hispanic born in Dallas, Texas. I am 5'5” and weigh 165 Lbs. Medium build with dark brown eyes and short black hair combed back. Well, I was a delivery driver and did body work and detailed cards also!
I love to cook all kinds of food, especially Mexican food. I am looking for some pen palls to correspond with and to share our our thoughts, likes and dislikes.
I like all kinds of music, especially country and oldies... and a little hip-hop.
I am looking for anyone over 20 years and older to write to and I am a person that love to make others laugh and lift them up when ever they are down. I am a good listener and a good shoulder to lean on OK? Oh, I've been on death row since August 2002 and am in the Federal courts at the moment, so it would really be very nice to get some pen pals to write to and talk to about the free world!
Well, I'll close this out now..
May God bless you all!
Jesse Joe Hernandez 999425 Polunsky Unit 3872 F.M. 350 South Livinston, Texas, 77351 USA