|Trinity Standard - Local News
Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company
Hernandez convicted of kidnapping, rape
Trinity Standard -
GROVETON – A 28-year-old Trinity man was found guilty of aggravated kidnapping and sexual assault last week by a Trinity County jury. The same jury sentenced Donald Christopher “Chris” Hernandez to 40 years in prison on the kidnapping charge and 20 years on the sexual assault conviction. Both sentences will run concurrently. Hernandez was convicted of holding his estranged wife against her will back in March 2012 at his residence off White Rock Acres Road east of Trinity. The trial got underway in Groveton on Monday, Dec. 10 and on Wednesday, Dec. 12, the jury found him guilty on two of the three felony charges he faced. He was found not guilty on one count of sexual assault. “They came back with the guilty verdict at about 2 p.m. and the punishment verdict at 6 p.m.,” Assistant District Attorney Bennie Schiro said. Schiro said the victim testified she had driven from her Houston residence to see Hernandez in order to collect money he had promised her. “They had two children that she was raising like a single mom and her car was about to be repossessed. She had contacted the defendant to ask for money and he invited her to come up to Trinity to collect it,” Schiro said. Once she got to his home, Hernandez held her for a week in a locked bedroom, sometimes tied to a chair. He used an electrical wire to shock her during the period and at one point forced her into the bathroom and shaved “every hair off her body,” Schiro said. The prosecutor said she told the jury that during the course of her confinement, Hernandez told her that God made him shave and shock her. At one point, Hernandez connected his homemade electrical shocking device to a remote control and fastened the ends of the wires to her thighs. He then used the remote to shock the woman while he was outside cleaning the contents out of her car. “She testified that at one point the remote seemed to get stuck and it shocked her for three to four minutes straight,” Schiro said. When the woman was later treated for her injuries, testimony from medical personnel indicated she had suffered second and third degree electrical burns to her inner thighs. During the course of her confinement, the Trinity County Sheriff’s Department had sent deputies to the residence three times in response to reports from neighbors of suspicious activity at the home. On each visit, officers could not get any response to their knocks on the door. The victim testified they were in the residence during the three visits but Hernandez kept her silent. She noted he had a camera mounted at the door and they could watch as the deputies approached and knocked via a television set in the back bedroom in which she was held. Schiro said the woman managed to convince Hernandez that she would drop her plans to divorce him and then promised to bring their children to Trinity so they could all live together. He took her to his mother’s home in Houston before returning to Trinity alone. When his mother took her to her residence, she managed to slip away and call for help. When Trinity County sheriff’s deputies and the newly organized Special Response Team (SRT) arrived to arrest Hernandez at his residence, they had to break through four locked doors before finding the suspect hiding in his shower. Schiro said when he was found, he had a red fruit drink stain on the front of his shirt. After Hernandez went into convulsions in the Trinity County Jail the following day, he was lifeflighted to a Houston hospital for treatment. It was believed that when officers arrived to arrest him, he drank a mixture of antifreeze and fruit juice in an attempt to commit suicide.