It’s been a little more than a year since the body of 37-year-old Jose Hernandez was recovered at a rural Lexington residence. Two people have been charged in his death. Jose Regalado-Mendez is charged with First Degree Murder and Use of a Weapon to Commit a Felony in the case. An arrest affidavit says Regalado-Mendez is accused for firing a firearm at Hernandez which contributed to his death. Melissa Callahan, is charged with being an Accessory to a Felony. In court documents Callahan is alleged to have been present during the murder of Jose Hernandez and that she assisted in removing the body from the crime scene and concealing his death. During a previous hearing, a Dawson County Sheriff’s Office investigator testified that they believed Hernandez died around October 4th, 2016 from a single gun shot and assault. The remains of Hernandez was found outside a residence 2 and one-half miles north of Lexington on December 12, 2016.
Proceedings in the cases has generally been put on hold since May 2017 while Regalado-Mendez underwent treatment at the Lincoln Regional Center to restore his competency to assist in his defense. Court records indicate that on February 22, 2018 Regalado-Mendez was deemed competent to stand trial. His attorney has since gave notice of their intent present a defense of not responsible by reason of insanity. In a March 15, 2018 hearing Dawson County District Judge Jim Doyle granted the defense motion to seek an expert evaluation on the issue. A jury trial on his charges has been tentatively set for July 10, 2018 at 9:00am. It’s expected to last five days.
Bond for Callahan was lowered in July 2017 from $200,000 to $20,000 in the homicide case and another one involving a probation violation on a conviction of Possession of a Controlled Substance in 2014. Callahan was released on bond on July 21, 2017 and remained out of custody until March 17, 2018 when she was arrested at 12:30am by Nebraska State Patrol following a traffic stop on Interstate 80 near the Darr interchange in Dawson County. A court record says Callahan was stopped for a stop sign violation and arrested on initial charges of no operator’s license, possession of methamphetamine in a search of her vehicle and possession of an open container of alcohol. A glass pipe with suspected methamphetamine was found after a further search at the Dawson County Jail where she remains in custody. A jury trial on her charge in the homicide case has been tentatively set for May 8, 2018 at 9:00am.