A young man accused in the stabbing death of a fellow Blythe resident pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder and other charges.
Brandon Jesus Hernandez, 20, was arrested Oct. 3 on suspicion of fatally wounding 22-year-old Victor Hernandez that morning at a home in the 17500 block of Palowalla Road, according to Riverside County sheriff’s officials, who said the suspect and victim were not related.
Hernandez was additionally charged with criminal threats and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with a second alleged victim identified only as “N. Gamez” in the criminal complaint filed by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
The defendant was arraigned before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Russell Moore, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for Oct. 27 at the Blythe Courthouse.
Hernandez is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
A co-defendant, 23-year-old Manuel Hector Gomez, is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 18 on one count of negligent discharge of a firearm and two counts of possessing a firearm while on probation.
Gomez, who previously posted bond in that case, was subsequently re-arrested on domestic violence allegations last Friday. He is expected to be charged in that case on Wednesday. He’s being held at the Blythe jail in lieu of $1 million bail.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Carroll, deputies went to a home in the unincorporated community of Mesa Verde west of Blythe in response to a call reporting an assault with a deadly weapon about 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 3, with a number of people present. By the time they arrived, the gathering had dispersed. Shortly afterward, deputies learned that a person had been taken to a nearby hospital for injuries suffered in an assault, according to Carroll.
Victor Hernandez died of his injuries later that day, and investigators subsequently identified Brandon Hernandez as the suspect and took him into custody at a unspecified address on Palowalla Road, jail records show. Gomez was arrested minutes after his co-defendant nearby.
Authorities did not specify a motive in the attack or provide additional information about the second victim, including whether the person suffered injuries.
Hernandez, who does not have any documented felony convictions in Riverside County, had a bench warrant out for his arrest in an unresolved misdemeanor case involving allegations he evaded a peace officer in March, court records show.
At the time of his arrest, Gomez was in the midst a three-year probation term stemming from a 2019 misdemeanor conviction for possessing brass knuckles. He has no documented felony convictions in Riverside County.
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