A Castro Valley man was convicted of first-degree murder today 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. Jurors, who only deliberated for half a day, also convicted 49-year-old Luis Hernandez of the special circumstance of lying in wait in 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 told jurors 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. Hernandez, who looked down but didn’t show much emotion when the verdict was announced, faces life in prison without the possibility of parole when he is sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Goodman on July 13.
Goulart’s family members and friends sobbed when the verdict was read by Goodman. Her sister, Mary Goulart, said, “Finally there is justice for Rose.” Referring to Hernandez, Goulart said, “May he rot in hell for what he did to my sister.” Walsh told jurors that Rose 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.” She 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 on Monday 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 on Wednesday that he 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. The murder was so brutal that the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office originally sought the death penalty for Hernandez but later decided to seek life in prison without the possibility of parole instead. Walsh declined to comment on that decision.
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