A 42-year-old Lexington man was sentenced to a lengthy prison term Monday morning in a Dawson County homicide. Jose Regalado-Mendez was sentenced in the death of 37-year-old Jose Hernandez on October 4, 2016. District Judge Jim Doyle ordered Regalado-Mendez to serve the maximum penalty of 20 years on the charge of Manslaughter. He was also ordered to serve a consecutive term of 20 to 25 years on the charge of Use of a Weapon to Commit a Felony. Regalado-Mendez was given credit for 733 days already served. Regalado-Mendez acknowledged in a previous hearing that his true identity is Manuel Juarez-Mendez.
During the hearing, Dawson County Attorney Liz Waterman noted the video surveillance evidence of the crime as it occurred inside the home but, that it did not capture all of the evidence of the crime.
Following the sentencing Dawson County Attorney Liz Waterman noted that while the case was pending over the past two years, mental health and medical issues that affected Regalado-Mendez’s mental health were raised as mitigating factors . While Waterman says she’s not certain of their roles in the crime, Waterman was certain that methamphetamine intoxication did affect his mental condition that night.
Hernandez died on October 4, 2016 after entering the rural Lexington home of Regalado-Mendez. A confrontation occurred and Hernandez was shot in the neck with a gun. Further courtroom statements indicate that blunt force trauma and asphyxiation may have also contributed to his death. Waterman said it was not known how long it took before Hernandez died. Hernandez’s body was found, hidden on the property, on December 12, 2016 during the execution of a search warrant.
Video surveillance inside the home recorded parts of the crime as it unfolded. Waterman described it as a very important part of the case.
In a letter to the court, defense attorney Sarah Newell suggested the video surveillance indicated that Hernandez believed a woman in the residence was cheating on him with Regalado-Mendez which lead to a confrontation. That woman, Melissa Callahan will have a hearing Friday on her charge of being an accessory to the case.