Judge upholds life in prison sentence for Michael Hernandez

Man convicted of fatally stabbing friend in Southwood Middle School bathroom

By Associated Press, Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor

MIAMI - A judge said Monday that a man who fatally stabbed his middle school friend when they were both 14 years old has essentially remained unchanged.

With that, Miami-Dade County Judge John Schlesinger ruled that Michael Hernandez should continue to spend the rest of his life in prison for the murder of his childhood friend.

Hernandez, now 26, originally received a mandatory life sentence for the 2004 stabbing death of Jaime Gough in a bathroom at Southwood Middle School.

The new hearing was mandated because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that juveniles could not automatically be sentenced to life without the chance of parole.

Hernandez stabbed Gough 42 times inside a school bathroom.

Schlesinger said that Hernandez "is essential the same kind of person he was in 2004." The judge cited 19 weeks' worth of jail telephone calls in which Hernandez spoke about serial killers and murderers as people that he admired.

"I had to ask myself, how is someone not sickened by a song about cutting someone's throat and watching them die?" Schlesinger said.

Schlesinger said he believes Hernandez still poses a threat to society.

Gough's parents said they didn't believe that Hernandez was sorry about what he did.

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