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.”