SALINAS, Calif. - A Soledad man has been found guilty of first degree murder and residential burglary.
The jury determined 30-year-old Ernesto Hernandez committed the murder while lying in wait and that he personally used a firearm in the commission of the felonies.
On the afternoon of March 29, 2016, family members found 19-year-old Abigail Gasca-Chavez dead in her home from seven gunshot wounds to her head and face. Hernandez is the father of one of Gasca-Chavez’s children.
Evidence from home surveillance cameras throughout Greenfield showed Hernandez pursuing Gasca-Chavez by car during the morning, and then caught Hernandez confronting the victim outside her home. Video later showed him driving past her house when Gasca-Chavez was gone and entering through an unlocked door, where he waited approximately 16 minutes until she and her 2-year-old entered the house. Less than a minute later, he ran from the home. Family members discovered her body approximately 25 minutes later after a neighbor found her child alone and crying outside.
That same day cell phone and video evidence demonstrated that Hernandez left Monterey County and drove to a bus station in Los Angeles, where he left his car and bought a one-way ticket to McAllen, Texas. From there, he crossed into Mexico, where he was later arrested and deported to the United States to face charges.
Hernandez will be in back in court on October 20th for the Court to determine whether he has suffered two prior strike convictions that are alleged for 2005 convictions for attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.
At the time of sentencing he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.