FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA

Crime-courts

Jury returns mixed verdict in sex-with-teen case

By From page A4 | December 07, 2013

FAIRFIELD — A Fairfield man who faces the possibility of prison and lifetime registration as a sex offender was found not guilty Friday of a felony charge of having sex with a minor.

Gabriel A. Hernandez heaved a sigh of relief after hearing the jury verdict that capped a three-day trial. His gratification was not dampened by the jury finding him guilty of a misdemeanor battery charge and deadlocking 10-2 for guilt on two other felony sexual assault charges.

Hernandez, 34, met the victim at the Fairfield library in the summer of 2012. The girl, then 16, was sitting next to Hernandez at a computer. Small talk ended with her phone number, which led to them meeting several times in the upcoming weeks.

The girl’s mother discovered text messages on the girl’s cellphone and the police were called. Detectives interviewed Hernandez before arresting him in November 2012 and he admitted to kissing the girl on their dates, but he denied having sex with her.

Jurors during the trial watched a video recording of the interview.

During the trial, Hernandez’ attorney, Deputy Public Defender Tamani Taylor, accused the girl of making up the accusations and lying. Taylor repeatedly pointed to contradictory details the girl gave detectives in three different interviews and during her hours on the witness stand while being questioned by Taylor.

After the verdicts, some jurors said deliberations at times revolved around the question of which of them, Hernandez or the girl, had lied less often.

Hernandez was ordered to return to court Dec. 18 to see if prosecutors intend to seek a second jury trial.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.
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Discussion | 6 comments

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  • S KDecember 07, 2013 - 8:46 am

    "Hernandez was ordered to return to court Dec. 18 to see if prosecutors intend to seek a second jury trial." Now I don't know what this guy did or not, really guilty or not guilty or whether the so called victim was really a victim or just a liar. I have no idea. What I do care about is whether or not the prosecutor will consider abusing the law, their authority. It is against the law of this land to retry a person under, "DOUBLE Jeopardy." Do so coming up with further trumped up charges, when there is a possibility the girl MAY HAVE lied or stretched the truth (You would not ever EVER catch me near an under age female!!!!), y'all better not let me on THAT jury.

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  • legal updateDecember 07, 2013 - 9:45 am

    I agree he shouldn't be retried. But it's not double jeopardy. If the jury hung, they can retry him on those charges. Double Jeopardy is when he's been aquitted of a charge, you cant retry him on that charge.

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  • S KDecember 07, 2013 - 10:53 am

    "a sex offender was found not guilty Friday of a felony charge>>> His gratification was not dampened by the jury finding him guilty of a misdemeanor battery charge and deadlocking 10-2 for guilt on two other felony sexual assault charges." Ok they did find him NOT guilty on all but one misdemeanor charge and dead locked 10-2 on two others, so he could conceivably be retried on those, but IMO a waste of time and tax payer money.

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  • BcpDecember 07, 2013 - 3:48 pm

    Yeah, I agree with SK, don't retry a sexual assault case! Let him go free because liberal Solano County jurors buy into "defense tactics of smoke and mirrors." Let's not waste any more money on a sex predator case! Not! Opposite of what SK said, please select me for that jury!

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  • S KDecember 07, 2013 - 6:28 pm

    IMO, that case has already been muddied, since it looks plausible that the girl may have lied. I doubt they'd get a conviction the 2nd time around. Will be too much reasonable doubt.

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  • General Fadi BasemDecember 12, 2013 - 8:10 pm

    Hey you jurors who voted not guilty on the sex with a minor charge...I have a question for you. What color dress did Mrs. Taylor wear during her opening statement? You were all sitting there attentively watching for maybe 15 minutes...as she presented her statement maybe 20 feet from you. What color was her dress?

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