Phillip Raymond Hernandez
SACRAMENTO, CA - While neighbors and family members expressed shock when they learned police arrested Phillip Raymond Hernandez on Tuesday night for the killing of his 9-year-old son Matthew with a hatchet, a closer look at the suspect's past revealed a troubled background.
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Hernandez was arrested for domestic abuse and attempted kidnapping back in 2004. That case involved the mother of his two children and his wife at the time, Jessica Hernandez.
Phillip Hernandez was granted probation and ordered to take part in both a Batterer's Treatment Program and an Alcohol and Drug Rehab Program. However, probation documents show the following year he failed the Batterer's Treatment Program due to excessive absences and admitted to probation officers that he hadn't even enrolled in an alcohol and drug program.
Then in November 2005, he was arrested again for battery of Jessica Hernandez; by then, the couple had divorced. Court documents include a statement from her in which she describes Phillip coming to her home drunk in the middle of the night and getting violent again.
FUNDRAISER: Donation to help with Matthew's burial costs
These incidents set the stage for the battle in recent years between the two parents for custody of their children. Although Jessica Hernandez at one point gave up custody, in 2008 she described her ex-husband in court documents as dangerous and said she was terrified to leave their sons in his care.
A judge denied the mother's request for custody last November and was scheduled to review that decision next July. Through a spokesperson, the judge denied News 10's request for comment, citing the California code of judicial ethics that prohibits judges from speaking publicly about pending cases.
Phillip Hernandez is scheduled to be in court Friday afternoon for his arraignment.