A Waco man who fatally shot another man in the back during an altercation outside a bar in 2017 was sentenced Monday to 50 years in prison.
Eric Hernandez, 34, who was set to stand trial Monday in Waco’s 54th State District Court, pleaded guilty to murder in the June 2017 shooting death of 24-year-old Deon Dashawn Love.
Hernandez shot Love twice in the back and once in the top of the left shoulder as Love and a woman fled after Hernandez pulled a gun during an argument outside Jesters Bar, 2110 LaSalle Ave.
The murder charge against Hernandez was enhanced by a prior conviction for delivery of cocaine in a drug-free zone. He faced a minimum of 15 years in prison and up to life. He must serve at least 25 years in prison before he can seek parole.
Hernandez’s attorney, Gerald Villarrial, declined comment after Monday’s hearing.
A woman with Love and a woman with Hernandez who were half-sisters but who had not spoken in eight years because of a rift ran into each other in the bar parking lot and got into an argument, said prosecutor Robert Moody. Love and Hernandez did not know each other, he said.
Love grabbed the woman he was with and tried to take her away from the altercation, but they were followed closely by the other woman, Moody said. Hernandez came over and joined the dispute, pulling a gun from his waistband and asking Love, “Do you want some of this?” Moody said.
Love and the woman started running away and Hernandez shot Love three times, including a fatal shot to the center of the back, Moody said.
Hernandez, the woman and another couple they were with fled the scene and went to another bar where they had been earlier that evening to produce a video intended to give Hernandez an alibi for his whereabouts that night. On the way home, Hernandez stashed the murder weapon in a tree at a friend’s house, which police found after interviewing witnesses later that night, Moody said.
Moody called the murder a “totally senseless act.”
“His actions were just cold-blooded,” Moody said. “We feel like justice was served in the case with this sentence. The community is a safer place without him in it, and I am glad there is some closure for the family.”
Love’s mother gave a victim-impact statement after Hernandez was sentenced. Speaking in hushed, barely audible tones, she told Hernandez that God would have vengeance on him.
Dominique Jones, the mother of Love’s two daughters, ages 8 and 5, said after the hearing that 50 years was not enough for Hernandez, adding that no amount of time would be enough in her estimation.
“It is hard raising two kids without a father,” she said. “My kids show no emotion. I cry and they wonder why. They are so young. They don’t know what actually happened to their father but they know where he is at. It is not fair. It is just not fair.”