An ex-convict from Sylmar who carried out a shooting rampage in 2014 that left five people dead in the San Fernando Valley, including three on the same day, was sentenced Thursday, Aug. 18, to five consecutive life prison terms without the possibility of parole.
Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus said from his downtown Los Angeles courtroom that Alexander Hernandez “should never be released. …
“To call him evil seems inadequate,” the judge said, saying the defendant “went out to hunt people” and that the cruelty he exhibited “defies explanation.”
Hernandez, 42, was convicted May 25 of first-degree murder for the 2014 slayings of Sergio Sanchez on March 14; Gilardo Morales on Aug. 21; and Gloria Tovar, Michael Planells and Mariana Franco on Aug. 24. There were also 11 counts of attempted murder that year and other offenses.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office dropped its bid for the death penalty for Hernandez in March 2021, just under four years after the prosecution announced it would seek capital punishment. Shortly after being sworn into office, District Attorney George Gascón issued a series of directives, including one that “a sentence of death is never an appropriate resolution in any case.”
Elizabeth King, whose daughter was shot and seriously wounded, said of the defendant, “If I had my way, he would get the death penalty multiple times.”
King’s daughter, Nicole De La Mora, who was struck while on her way to work, called Hernandez “a murderer” and a “predator who took the lives of special people.”
Morales’ niece, Nancy Payares, told the judge her uncle was “more than family to us” and was “the kind of man to help anyone.”
Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee told jurors in her final argument that society will probably never know why the crimes occurred. She told City News Service after the verdict that the attacks were “absolutely unprovoked.”
Most of the victims were driving — including home from prom or work, to church and en route to a fishing trip with their children on Father’s Day.
Hernandez was often in his Chevrolet Suburban, a prosecutor has said.
The SUV was identifiable by a hood that didn’t close properly, stickers of “a white skull” and “666” on the back of the vehicle, custom six-spoked rims and other unique details, according to the prosecution.
Other shootings that were subsequently linked to the defendant included a May 14, 2014, drive-by attack that seriously injured a Chatsworth teenager who had just dropped his girlfriend at home following their high school prom and was waiting for a traffic light to change when a vehicle pulled alongside and a man shot him, according to the deputy district attorney.
Hernandez has remained jailed without bail since he was arrested after barricading himself for about an hour inside his Sylmar residence on Aug. 24, 2014.
He had prior convictions dating back to 2004 for possession for sale of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance while armed, and possession of a firearm by a felon.