MIAMI, Florida – Michael Hernandez, the man known for the brutal murder of his best friend in a Miami high school bathroom in 2004, died Thursday in his jail cell.
Hernández was 14 years old at the time of the murder and died at age 31, according to prison records, although the exact cause of death is not immediately known.
The young man at the time was sentenced to life in prison after he killed 14-year-old Jaime Gough at Southwood High School more than a decade ago. Hernandez stabbed Gough more than 40 times at a Palmetto Bay school before hiding his knife in his backpack and going to class.
At his 2008 trial, jurors rejected the insanity allegation made by Hernández’s defense and convicted him of first-degree murder.
Trial testimony showed that Hernandez kept a diary listing the people he wanted to kill, including his own sister, and that he had been fascinated by other serial killers like Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer, adding that he felt he was in a mission to “clean the planet” so he had to kill people.
In 2016, a new sentencing hearing was ordered for Hernández after the United States Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that minors could not be automatically sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, as required by Florida law when Hernández he was sent to prison.
Subsequently, the decision was made retroactive to the oldest cases. After the second hearing, a Miami-Dade County judge agreed to send Hernandez back to prison for life.