Man gets life sen­tence in stab­bing death

Judge im­poses max­i­mum time for first-de­gree mur­der con­vic­tion


The Albuquerque man who broke into a truck and stabbed the owner to death when con­fronted was sen­tenced Tues­day to life in prison plus 20½ years.

Tyler Her­nan­dez, 26, was con­victed in June of first-de­gree mur­der and lesser charges in the De­cem­ber 2015 death of Bill McKin­ley. Sec­ond Ju­di­cial District Judge Christina Jaramillo handed down the max­i­mum sen­tence for Her­nan­dez. Be­cause he re­ceived a life sen­tence, Her­nan­dez’s case will be au­to­mat­i­cally ap­pealed to the Supreme Court.

Pros­e­cu­tor Penny Gil­bert said Tues­day that Her­nan­dez broke into McKin­ley’s truck, which was parked out­side of his Four Hills home, and stole sev­eral tools be­fore McKin­ley con­fronted him early the morn­ing of Dec. 26, 2015. Her­nan­dez and his co-de­fen­dant had been break­ing into cars all night and into that morn­ing, she said.

“He was try­ing to pro­tect his prop­erty,” she said, “and in re­sponse to that the de­fen­dant stabbed him three times.”

In a brief state­ment to the court, Her­nan­dez apol­o­gized to the McKin­ley fam­ily for “the loss you have ex­pe­ri­enced,” and he said sug­ges­tions that he felt no re­morse and was a “hor­ri­ble soul­less per­son” were un­true. His par­ents de­scribed a smart, gen­er­ous man who was never able to over­come his strug­gles with drugs and de­pres­sion.

Daniel Salazar, Her­nan­dez’s de­fense at­tor­ney, ar­gued that the 30-year life sen­tence would be suf­fi­cient pun­ish­ment for the crime. He said that by age 56 Her­nan­dez would be smarter and “less prone to vi­o­lent im­pulses” and that the 20½ ad­di­tional years were un­nec­es­sary.

Af­ter the hear­ing, Salazar said that Her­nan­dez had been pre­par­ing him­self for the pos­si­bil­ity of a long sen­tence since the day of the stab­bing.

“He knew that he was at a place where some­body died, and he knew there were go­ing to be con­se­quences,” he said. “No­body likes to hear that they’re prob­a­bly never go­ing to see the light of day.”

McKin­ley’s daugh­ter, Jennifer McKin­ley, said the sen­tence brought her some sense of re­lief com­bined with dis­ap­point­ment in a sys­tem that of­fers no mean­ing­ful op­tions for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

“I go back and forth be­cause I am very, very glad that jus­tice was served,” she said. “But I also hope that there will be re­sources for him to be as pro­duc­tive as he can be and to find joy and to find healing and for­give­ness while he’s locked away.”

Tyler Her­nan­dez

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