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posted: 9/25/2013 7:01 PM

35-year term for 2008 attempted murder in Elgin

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  • Bernardino Hernandez Jr.

      Bernardino Hernandez Jr.

 
 

A Kane County judge Wednesday sentenced a 26-year-old Elgin man to 35 years in prison for shooting the mother of his child three times in 2008.

A jury in May convicted Bernardino Hernandez Jr., formerly of the 800 block of South Liberty Street, of attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm.

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The crimes carried up to 55 years in prison, and Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Kelly Orland argued Hernandez should get a 45-year term.

"(The shooting) was planned out, and it was carried out in a cold and callous manner," Orland said, noting that Hernandez made arrangements with others to dispose of the gun, his clothing and hatch an alibi.

According to prosecutors, the mother of Hernandez's then-3-year-old daughter and another woman learned he was seeing both of them and confronted him about it. The mother threatened to deny him visitation to his daughter until the matter was resolved in court.

On June 26, 2008, Hernandez went to the woman's residence on the 300 block of Ann Street, tapped on her window as he had done numerous times in the past. He fired five shots from a .38 caliber Bersa pistol, three of which hit her in the back, authorities said.

The woman was hospitalized for 10 days after emergency surgery and her toddler daughter was in the bedroom at the time of the shooting.

Orland said the victim was afraid she was going to die while waiting for police and ambulances to arrive and thought, "Am I going to have to write (Hernandez's) name in my own blood on the wall?" to help authorities identify her attacker.

Defense attorney Sandra Byrd said her client maintained his innocence and led a law-abiding life until he was arrested. Byrd also questioned why Hernandez would open fire into a room where his daughter was, as prosecutors argued, especially if he was upset he was not able to to see her. "That theory makes absolutely no sense," said Byrd, who argued for the minimum 31-year sentence for Hernandez, who did not address the court.

Judge Karen Simpson said the shooting was calculated and she could not imagine the horror experienced by the toddler, now 7, seeing her mother shot. "Thankfully, the child was not harmed, but certainly, the child was in a very precarious situation," Simpson said.

In all, Hernandez has been sentenced to 55 years in prison, of which he must serve 85 percent, or nearly 47 years.

Hernandez pleaded guilty in 2012 to charges of solicitation of murder and was sentenced to 20 years. Authorities said he made arrangements in spring 2010 while in jail to kill the other woman in the love triangle, who also was a witness in the attempted murder case.

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