Texas to execute man who beat baby boy to death in 2001

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 28, 2012 2:23 PM

By Corrie MacLaggan

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A Texas man is set to be executed on Wednesday evening by lethal injection for beating a 10-month-old boy to death in Dallas in 2001.

Jesse Hernandez, now 47, was babysitting 10-month-old Karlos Borja and Karlos' 4-year-old sister while their mother was at work when he assaulted both children.

The girl survived injuries to her face and head, but her brother died a week after the beating. Karlos had a skull fracture and bruises on his forehead, temple, abdomen and genitalia, according to autopsy records described by the Dallas Morning News at the time of the trial.

Hernandez, a convicted child sex offender, said in a written statement that the children "were being very bad by crying a lot for nothing" and that he "just exploded and hit them with the back of my hand not realizing that I was hurting them," according to a summary by the Texas attorney general's office of the evidence presented at trial.

During an interview with police, Hernandez said that he might have hit Karlos with a flashlight, but that was not part of the written statement, the summary said. Karlos' sister told police that "Jesse" hit her and her brother with a flashlight, according to a Dallas Morning News article in 2001.

Hernandez told the newspaper that police forced him to sign a confession (though police said that the confession was voluntary). "I didn't do it," Hernandez said, according to the Morning News. "I didn't hurt them like that."

Hernandez -- whose execution is to take place at a prison in Huntsville, Texas -- would be the fourth person executed this year in Texas and the 12th inmate put to death this year in the United States. Texas executed 13 people in 2011 and has put to death more than four times as many people as any other state since the United States reinstated the death penalty in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

(Reporting By Corrie MacLaggan)