A person who authorities say choked his girlfriend to loss of life, wrapped her physique in a carpet and helped throw her off of an Ortega Freeway mountainside in Orange County below the quilt of darkness in 2019 has been convicted of homicide.
Hugo Leonel Hernandez, 46, is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 16 after getting convicted on Dec. 29 in Superior Court docket in Riverside. After a 10-day trial, jurors reached a call in in the future.
A good friend of Hernandez, Edilberto “Eddie” Avena, pleaded responsible to being an adjunct to against the law final March and is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 9.
The physique of 33-year-old Katherine Mary Neitzke, a Hemet resident till shifting to Romoland, had not been discovered on the time the lads have been arrested, though Avena led investigators to the world the place he stated her physique was left, described as two to 5 miles east of Quest Diagnostics, in Orange County.
On Friday, it was unclear if her physique was ever discovered.
Hernandez was arrested in Oceanside a 12 months in the past. The Sheriff’s Division started investigating the case in December 2019 when relations reported Neitzke lacking from the barn-like construction the place she had been not too long ago dwelling in Romoland. Kin had not heard from her since that July 25, when Neitzke frantically known as a good friend, asking to be picked up. Neitzke then advised the good friend that she’d name her again however by no means did.
Someday in 2019, Avena met Neitzke, he advised investigators, in keeping with a sworn affidavit written by a sheriff’s investigator to acquire an arrest warrant for Avena. Just a few days later, he drove up from his Vista house to ship furnishings to the Mapes Street house the place members of the family lived and Hernandez and Neitzke additionally have been staying.
“She is a rat, and I needed to take her down,” Avena stated Hernandez advised him, in keeping with the affidavit.
A 3rd particular person recommended that the lads wrap Neitzke in carpet and put her within the hills, the affidavit says, paraphrasing Avena. That particular person was not charged.
On July 28, 2019, Hernandez and Avena loaded Neitzke’s physique into Avena’s GMC Yukon and drove by way of Lake Elsinore to Freeway 74, also called Ortega Freeway, and forged the physique over the aspect, Avena advised investigators.
Avena was linked to the physique disposal by way of his telephone, the affidavit says. Cell-tower information confirmed he was on the south finish of the lake in Lake Elsinore on that date, headed towards Freeway 74 that night time.