A Castro Valley man was sentenced today to life in state prison without the possibility of parole for fatally stabbing the mother of his children in front of her Hayward workplace three years ago after she broke off their 17-year relationship.
Luis Hernandez, 49, was convicted of first-degree murder and the special circumstance of lying in wait for the killing of 46-year-old Rose Goulart -- the mother of his two teenage children -- outside the Bay Valley Medical Group at 27212 Calaroga Ave. at about 8:15 a.m. on May 29, 2009.
In addition, jurors convicted Hernandez of stalking Goulart.
Prosecutor Lindsay Walsh said that several months before Goulart was killed, she had finally gained the courage to move away from Hernandez after suffering years of abuse from him.
Walsh told jurors in her closing argument in Hernandez's trial that Goulart tried to keep her new address and her new phone number a secret from Hernandez but he eventually tracked her down because "he wanted to show her that he was still in control and she couldn't get away no matter what she did."
Walsh said Hernandez killed Goulart in a carefully planned attack in which he wore a baseball cap and dark clothing to conceal his identity and borrowed his aunt's car so Goulart's colleagues at the Bay Valley Medical Group in Hayward, which is adjacent to St. Rose Hospital, wouldn't recognize him.
Goulart's co-workers knew of the troubled relationship and had been told to call police if they saw Hernandez, Walsh said.
Hernandez waited in the parking lot for at least 10 minutes, and when Goulart arrived he stabbed her 24 times with a screwdriver he had fashioned into an ice pick, she said.
Goulart was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital and police arrested Hernandez at the scene.
Hernandez testified during his trial that he didn't know what he was doing because he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol, saying he had consumed 20 beers, 10 morphine pills, 60 Prozac pills and seven anti-anxiety pills.
But Walsh said there is no evidence that Hernandez was under the influence of alcohol and drugs because when he was taken to jail after Goulart was killed, he told deputies that he had only taken a normal dose of Prozac.
Hernandez's lawyer, Deborah Levy, admitted to jurors in her closing argument that her client killed Goulart but said he should only be convicted of voluntary manslaughter instead of murder because he acted in the heat of passion and rage.
Levy said that if Hernandez had planned to kill Goulart ahead of time, he wouldn't have killed her in front of a lot of witnesses.
In sentencing Hernandez today, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Goodman said the testimony about Hernandez's brutal attack on Goulart "is some of the harshest I've experienced in my 29 years on the bench."
Goodman said he has presided over more than 100 murder cases but he told Hernandez that, "You are one of the most despicable people I've ever seen" because of the mental and physical abuse he inflicted on Goulart over many years.
Jeanette Hernandez, one of the couple's children, told Luis Hernandez, "You took the one thing in my life that was important to me, my mom, my best friend."
She said, "I can't find it in my heart to forgive you because what you did was an act of selfishness."
Shelley Casey, who was Goulart's supervisor at the Bay Valley Medical Group, said Goulart "was the most dedicated employee I had" and had successfully fought breast cancer.
Casey said, "I believe her most heroic event was not winning her battle with breast cancer but when she finally left Luis for good," saying "this man had made her life a living hell."
Casey said life in prison without parole is exactly what Luis Hernandez and said, "May his days in prison be like hell, which will serve as a fine preparation for his final resting spot."
Hernandez didn't address the court at his hearing today but after Jeanette Hernandez spoke he quietly told her, "I love you. Sorry."