The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday declined to review a petition filed by a twenty-seven-year-old Weslaco woman serving thirty-two years in prison for the death of her newborn child in 2014
The court in its order said that it affirms with the trial court’s decision on the matter and thereby declined to proceed with the petitioner’s appeal.
The petition filed by the convicted, Sandy Perez Hernandez’s appellate advocate followed rejections of her direct appeal and motion for a new trial between the years 2017 and 2019.
A jury convicted Hernandez in 2016 after 10 hours of contemplation on charges of manslaughter under and injury to a child.She had been charged with capital murder under Section 19 (3) of the Texas Penal Code.
The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office arrested Hernandez four days after she gave birth to her child on 17thOctober 2014, in her Weslaco home thatsheshared with her parents and siblings. The baby died within 24 hours of its birth from blunt force trauma to its head.
Sandy Hernandez, who was a college student at the time, told her parents as well as law enforcement agencies that she was not aware of the fact that she was carrying a child in her womb. She stated that she stumbled and fell with the baby on a tile in the house and on the grass outside of the house.
She went outside the house to the lawn because she didn’t want to mess up the house with blood from the birth of the child, according to the petition.
Hernandez further told authorities that she did not intendto hurt the baby, who was found outside on the lawn and was cold to the touch, hardly breathing and exhibiting some swelling to the side of the head.
Dr. Norma Jean Farley, a forensic pathologist who manages and conductsall autopsies for Hidalgo County, deponed during Hernandez’s trial that a fall on the grass could not have caused the injuries that the child suffered. She affirmed that ordinary falls categorically do not kill infants and thatHernandez’s babyexhibited several skull fractures.
“In her opinion, the injuries to Baby Hernandez required a ‘great amount’ of inflicted force, ‘either a slam’ or a ‘forceful beating on the head’ could cause the injuries,’” the 13th Court of Appeals stated in a prior opinion.
Hernandez had asserted in the petition that charges of manslaughter and injury to a childconstituted a type of double jeopardy and that she had incompetent assistance of the counselappearing on her behalf during the trial.She complained that her lawyer did not object to language used in the jury charge and that the trial court had not taken into account the evidence from a juror during a motion for a new trial.
Hernandez is qualified for parole in the year 2032.