Two days before his 46th birthday, a man who fatally strangled his ex-girlfriend with a coaxial cable in front of the woman's 1- and 4-year-old children in 1993 was found suitable for parole at a hearing in Solano County Tuesday, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said today.
Jose Gilbert Hernandez, who turns 46 Thursday, has spent 19 years in California State Prison at Solano for the crime. He was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison on March 11, 1994, after pleading no contest to second-degree murder in San Mateo County Superior Court on Aug. 31, 1993.
Hernandez killed his ex-girlfriend and staged the apartment to look as though she had taken her own life by suicide. A suicide note was left with the two children in the Daly City apartment when Hernandez fled the scene, Wagstaffe said.
The 4-year-old child was able to call a relative to report the death of the woman.
According to the parole board, Hernandez was granted a parole date based on "his complete and extraordinary rehabilitation." He has apparently conducted himself appropriately in prison, done the self-help courses and his family has offered him a place to live, Wagstaffe said.
However, the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office disagrees with the parole board's decision.
"It does not seem to us that he has paid the price he has been sentenced to pay," said Wagstaffe, who remembers the case well as he worked in the homicide detail when the crime occurred.
Wagstaffe sent a deputy district attorney to Tuesday's hearing to voice opposition. Both child victims, now in their 20s, supported the release of Hernandez. One appeared in person and one appeared in a heartfelt video appeal, Wagstaffe said.
"They provided very emotional statements to his good character and pleaded for release," he said.
Hernandez has been granted a parole date which has yet to be set.
His case must first go to review and then to the governor, who has the power to veto the board's decision. This process could take anywhere from four to six months, Wagstaffe said.