A Dallas County man who was supposed to be taking care of an 10-month-old boy, but instead fatally beat him with a flashlight, was executed Wednesday night.
Jesse Joe Hernandez, a 47-year-old convicted child sex offender, was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m., 10 minutes after the lethal dose was administered into his body.
Hernandez was found guilty and sentenced to die by lethal injection for the murder of Karlos Borjas 11 years ago. Hernandez, who was staying with his girlfriend and the boy’s mother at the time, was supposed to be babysitting Borjas and his 4-year-old sister on the night of April 11, 2001.
Hernandez was convicted of murder for hitting the boy, who suffered a skull fracture, and his sister with a flashlight. The girl survived, but Borjas was taken off life support a week later and died.
Wednesday night, Hernandez was in a cheerful mood, addressing friends through the glass as he lay strapped to the gurney.
“Tell my son I love him very much. God bless everybody,” he said. “Continue to walk with God. Go Cowboys!”
During the murder trial, jurors saw photos of the badly beaten boy connected to tubes in the hospital and injuries his sister suffered. They also learned that Hernandez had a previous conviction for molesting a child and drug possession, had beat his ex-wife with a baseball bat, burned a girlfriend’s child with cigarettes and was found with a shank while locked up in jail.
Hernandez thanked the witnesses who were there to see him executed Wednesday night.
“Thank you. I can feel it. I taste it. It is not bad,” he said before breathing heavily and losing consciousness.
Court records showed Hernandez and his wife of six years had been living for about three days with the two children and their 22-year-old mother in a Dallas house that had no running water. Hernandez and his wife were to watch the children while their mother was working as a waitress.
On the night the children were attacked, Hernandez’s wife left to run some errands. When she returned he told her the kids were sleeping and not to disturb them. Hours later, after their mother returned from work, the girl complained her head was hurting and was taken to a hospital. In her absence, Hernandez’s wife discovered Borjas’ injuries and called paramedics. Police then were notified.
Hernandez’s DNA was found in Borjas’ blood on a pillowcase and on the child’s clothing. The girl drew stick figures for police to help describe her attack.
Hernandez denied beating the children but later told a detective he may have hit the boy with a flashlight. He did not include the flashlight reference in a written confession in which he said he “just exploded and hit them with the back of (his) hand.”
“They were being very bad by crying a lot for nothing,” Hernandez wrote.
The slain boy’s mother subsequently lost legal custody of her surviving daughter to the girl’s grandmother.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.