Hernandez testifies in triple murder trial

Jurors will deliberate Tuesday morning...

DALLAS COUNTY- Carlos Hernandez took the stand as the defense's sole witness Monday afternoon.

After nearly one week of trial testimony, the state wrapped up their final witness with State Medical Examiner Dr. Dennis Klein. 

Klein told jurors he performed all autopsies on Flores De Leake, Melaney Barazza and Juan Jimenez-Tejeda after their murders in October of 2016. 

Dr. Klein says Leake had 40 separate injuries consistent with being "chopped" with a machete, including a severed hand.

"She had 40 separate sharp force injuries," said Klein.

He added Barazza had at least 37 injuries and Tejeda had 15, all of which were focused on their heads, upper body and arm areas. 

The jury was visibly disturbed while examining autopsy photos of each victim. Those are the same photos which brought Carlos Hernandez to tears while testifying. 

Hernandez claimed he loved and cared for all of the victims and that it was Leake's ex-husband Daniel who told him to kill those three or he'd kill Hernandez's family in Virginia. 

Hernandez says he has two children in his home country of El Salvador and the rest of his family lives in Virginia which is why he claims he was so scared for them. 

"I didn't think about it, I didn't think about it because of the fear and in my heart, I would never do such a thing never,
 explained Hernandez. He claims he wasn't in his right mind during the killings and that he did them out of "fear."

The state's only rebuttal witness was Daniel Leake, who claims he never had a conversation with Hernandez and only met him a handful of times while living in Perry for the past 14 years. 

"You never had conversation with him?" asked Hernandez' defense attorney Mike Adams. "Hi, bye nothing like that?"

"Nope.... nope," said Leake.

Investigators never found evidence in correlation to Hernandez's claims of threats from Leake or of Leake's supposed drug trafficking. 

Leake said he and Flore had decided to separate about two months prior to the murders. They were married for six years and had one son together. 

The jury will hear closing arguments Tuesday morning and will deliberate until reaching their verdict. 

If Hernandez is found guilty of first degree murder, he will face life in prison without parole. 


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