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Teen who butchered friend in school dies in jail during life sentence

A Florida man who had been serving a life sentence in prison for the vicious murder of a middle school classmate in 2004 was found dead earlier this week in his jail cell

Michael Hernandez, 31 when he died, was seen on surveillance video collapsing to the cell floor, local media said, which added that an autopsy would determine the cause of death.

A jury convicted Hernandez of first-degree murder in 2008, rejecting his contention that he was insane when he lured his friend Jaime Gough into a bathroom stall at Southwood Middle School in Palmetto Bay and stabbed him for than 40 times.

Both Gough and Hernandez were 14 at the time. After the murder, Hernandez hid the knife in his backpack and went to class, the media reported.

Teen-who-butchered-best-friend-in-school-dies-in-jail-during-life-sentence
[Left: Jaime Gough/handout. Right: Michael Hernandez in court on March 22, 2004. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz/FILE) Inset center: Michael Hernandez/Florida Department of Corrections]
Testimony at trial revealed Hernandez was fascinated by serial killers like Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer and kept a list of people he wanted to kill — one of whom was his own sister. Testimony also showed that he believed he was on a missing to “cleanse the planet” by killing people.

On the day of the murder, Gough was the second boy Hernandez tried to coax into the bathroom stall. After killing the boy, he waited to make sure he was dead.

In addition to the murder charge, Hernandez was also convicted of the attempted murder of the first student he tried to lure into the stall — Andre Martin, who is now a Miami-Dade police detective.

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“My continued condolences for Jaime Gough’s parents, and the entire Gough family,” Martin said. “And the Hernandez family — they were not the ones who committed a crime and they did lose a family member.”

Gough’s family told media they had forgiven Hernandez long ago.

“You have a choice to make. You can choose more hate and anger, and it would not be peaceful,” said Jorge Gough, the boy’s father.

Jaime’s mother, Maria Gough, said she feels no joy at Hernandez’s death, “just sad.”

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