An Algonquin woman and her best friend described the night of May 11, 2017, when a Kane County man, whom one of the women previously had dated, jumped out from a closet “angry” and “screaming” and beat and choked them for hours.
The testimony of the hours-long attack, which took place in a Lake in the Hills townhouse, was heard Friday in a McHenry County courtroom as Louis A. Hernandez was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Hernandez, 51, of Sleepy Hollow, pleaded guilty in July to home invasion/causing injury, aggravated battery, aggravated domestic battery and aggravated battery/strangulation.
He is required to serve 85% of his sentence, and when he is released from prison, Hernandez will be placed on mandatory supervised release for four years, McHenry County Judge Michael Coppedge said.
At the sentencing hearing, the woman who had dated Hernandez for about a year said when she and her friend entered a second-floor room the night of May 11, 2017, Hernandez leaped out from a closet and said, “Looks like you both are going to die tonight.”
During the attack, which lasted about five hours, one of the women tried to call 911 but dropped her phone, and Hernandez took it and threw it. The other woman said she was too scared to call police. She feared Hernandez would see and kill her, she said.
The friend of the woman who dated Hernandez said he looked at her and said he was “sorry she was there … you weren’t supposed to be here,” the woman said he told her. She said Hernandez was “screaming,” and it all happened quickly.
At first, he took turns punching each of them, the woman testified. She described how at one point she saw Hernandez lift her friend from the ground while choking her.
“I just remember seeing her feet dangling,” she said.
The woman continued, saying she thought Hernandez punched her at least 20 times, while he punched his ex-girlfriend “at least double that.”
Both women said they recalled blacking out from being choked more than once.
Both said they still suffer from the injuries physically and emotionally. Hernandez's ex-girlfriend said the muscles in her left eye are weak, and it does not close properly. She said as each day goes on, it seems she is unable to hold the eye open.
Hernandez's ex-girlfriend said there was one point when he was choking her that she tried to fall to the ground and “play possum,” hoping he would leave her alone. However, that only made him say, “Oh, you are gonna make this easy for me,” the woman testified. She said Hernandez then got down on the ground with her and continued to choke her.
“Ultimately, I thought I was going to die,” the woman said. “I just wanted it to be over with.”
Of her friend, Hernandez's ex-girlfriend said she thought “she was gonna be with me dying.”
She said she begged for Hernandez to let her go and said she would not tell anyone. As the hours passed, Hernandez's ex-girlfriend said her face hurt so bad she thought her cheekbone was coming out of her eye.
At one point, Hernandez seemed to realize what he was doing and said, “Now, I have to kill you guys because you are going to call the cops," the ex-girlfriend testified.
As the woman's friend tried to escape from the room, Hernandez pulled her by her hair and threatened to throw his ex-girlfriend over the banister.
He threatened the women into not leaving. As he put a chair up against the door, Hernandez said he would kill both women and their families. He said he then would wait for the police to arrive and “have a shootout.”
Hernandez told the women they were lucky he couldn’t find his knife.
At 5:30 a.m., he allowed his ex-girlfriend's friend to leave, but he made his ex-girlfriend go to his house with him. When he eventually let her leave, he taunted her with text messages and voicemails.
Hernandez was arrested and taken to the McHenry County Jail on May 13, 2017.
His daughter, Ariana Hernandez, tearfully described Hernandez as a good dad who was never violent with her, her sister or mother. She asked the judge for leniency so he could be in her life.
"I know for a fact he would never do anything like this again," she said. "I just wish this never happened. He regrets all of it."
Before learning his sentence, Hernandez stood and faced the judge and apologized to the victims. As he was led away, he turned around and smiled at the women who sat in the back of the courtroom.