A budding serial killer at the age of 14 has died behind bars in Florida as an adult.
Listen to Karen’s Full Rigor Podcast about child murderer Michael Hernandez who died behind bars here.
At the age of 14, Palmetto Bay middle school student, Michael Hernandez, fatally stabbed and slit the throat of a his classmate in a bathroom stall.
Michael Hernandez was a 31-year-old inmate at Columbia Correctional Institute outside Jacksonville when he collapsed and died Thursday, possibly from a drug overdose, according to the Florida Department of corrections.
An official cause of death for Hernandez has yet to be given, although no foul play is suspected, authorities said.
Hernandez’s crime was brutal. He lured bespectacled, violin-playing fellow student Jaime Gough into a bathroom stall at Southwood Middle School in 2004 with the promise of showing him “something.”
Hernandez was obsessed with serial killers and had devised a list of people he wanted to murder. On that list was Jaime Gough who he stabbed 40 times and slit his throat.
Hernandez returned to class with the bloody knife stashed in his backpack. A teacher noticed blood on the student and called the cops.
Hernandez tried using an insanity defense at trial, but the jury balked, finding him guilty and ordering him to serve life behind bars.
His victim’s dad, Jorge Gough, said he was “shocked’’ to learn of Hernandez’s death.
“I was not expecting this at all,” Gough told the Miami Herald.
As for his son, the dad said, “We miss him, and the big question is: What would he be today?”
George and Aura Alvarado had children at Southwood Middle with both Hernandez and Gough. The couple knows both families.
“I remember it like it was today, the commotion,” said Aura. “Everybody was concerned and sad that something like that happened in the school.”
Miami-Dade’s State Attorney’s Office, who prosecuted the case, reacted to the news of the Hernandez’s death.
“Jamie Gough’s brutal murder ended a promising young life and forever scarred his family. For them, this news still must tear at their hearts,” said Katherine Fernandez Rundle, State Attorney for Miami-Dade County.
Fernandez Rundle said that she also grieved for the family of Michael Hernandez. “I have always felt that Michael Hernandez’ family were also Michael’s victims. Upon his conviction, Michael Hernandez’ family was also scarred by Michael’s actions. My sympathies to both families,” Fernandez Rundle wrote in a statement.
Hernandez was re-sentenced in 2016 when the Supreme Court banned life sentences for juveniles convicted of murder.
After returning to court and going through the chilling details of the case once again, a judge discovered evidence of his interest in things like serial killers.
Hernandez was sent back to prison for life. Records show he died on Thursday, April 29, at Columbia Correctional Institution near Jacksonville.