MIAMI (AP) – The teenage killer who lured a friend into a bathroom at their suburban Miami college 17 years ago and slit his throat has died in jail.
Florida Corrections Department online records show Michael Hernandez, 31, died on Thursday. He had been incarcerated at the Columbia Correctional Institute, about 80 kilometers west of Jacksonville. No cause of death was revealed, but WFOR-TV said Hernandez was seen on video collapsing and no foul play was suspected.
Hernandez was serving a life sentence for the murder of Jaime Gough in February 2004 when they were both 14-year-old students at Southwood Middle School in Palmetto Bay, just outside Miami.
Hernandez had lured Jaime to a disabled stall before school with a promise to show him something. He then took out a knife, stabbed him over 40 times, and slit his throat. He then hid the knife in a secret compartment of his backpack and went to class.
After Jaime’s body was discovered, a teacher noticed blood on Hernandez and notified the police. It was discovered that Hernandez had become fascinated with serial killers, studying them online. He had made a list of people he wanted to kill, including Jaime. He was convicted in 2008 of first degree murder after a jury rejected his insanity plea.
Jorge Gough, Jaime’s father, told the Miami Herald he was “shocked” to learn of Hernandez’s death.
“I didn’t expect that at all,” Gough said. He said he and his wife were still talking about their son, who would now be 31, but “not in a sad way.” Her son was a straight student who played the violin.
“We miss him, and the big question is: what would he be today?” he said.
Hernandez had planned to kill two friends, but Andre Martin became suspicious when Hernandez tried to lure him and Gough into the stall. The bell rang and the three went to class. The next day, Hernandez killed Gough.
Martin is now a Miami-Dade County Police Detective. He told the Herald he had mixed feelings about Hernandez’s death.
“My continued condolences to Jaime Gough’s parents and the entire Gough family,” said Martin. “And the Hernandez family – they weren’t the ones who committed a crime and they lost a family member.”