‘We want the death penalty’: Woman indicted in death of Sierra Hernandez in Polk County

‘We want the death penalty’: Woman indicted in death of Sierra Hernandez in Polk County

BARTOW, Fla. (WFLA) — Shawn Hernandez was relieved when he was informed last week that a grand jury returned a first-degree murder indictment in connection with his daughter’s death in January.

“It’s good news,” he said. “We’re beyond ecstatic about it. Happy. I wish there was more we knew at this time but as of right now, we know just as much as everyone else does.”

Daphne Fernandez has been in jail for months on charges related to Sierra Hernandez’s death, including accessory after the fact, kidnapping and abuse of a dead human body.

Christopher “Shawn” Hernandez and his daughter, 20-year-old Sierra Hernandez. (Family handout)
Christopher “Shawn” Hernandez and his daughter, 20-year-old Sierra Hernandez. (Family handout)

This month’s 12-count grand jury indictment is the first time anyone has faced a first-degree murder charge in the case.

The indictment alleges on or between Jan. 9 and Jan. 15, Fernandez “did actually and unlawfully from a premeditated design to effect the death of a human being, kill Sierra Hernandez, a human being by an act of homicidal violence, or while engaged in the commission or attempt to commit any kidnapping, false imprisonment, or grand theft of a motor vehicle, Daphne and Fernandez, or her accomplice caused the death of Sierra Hernandez.”

The other 11 counts on the indictment are kidnapping, abuse of dead human body, grand theft (motor vehicle), unlawful possession of a stolen credit card, criminal use of personal identification, fraudulent use of credit card (3+ times), felony petit theft, driving while license revoked, tampering a physical evidence, tampering with a witness and accessory after the fact to a capital felony.

At first appearance Monday, a judge ordered Fernandez to be held on no bond.

Another judge had previously granted the state’s motion for pretrial detention after a hearing earlier this year.

According to authorities, Hernandez was killed after showing up at Fernandez’s Winter Haven home to meet a man she had met online in January.

That man had received permission from Fernandez for he and Hernandez to stay at the house.

Court documents show when the man left the home, Hernandez contacted him because her vehicle was gone.

Witnesses say they saw Hernandez tied up in the home.

Fernandez’s son testified at her pretrial detention hearing that he saw his mother beat Hernandez.

Evidence showed Fernandez drove Hernandez’s vehicle to the Hard Rock Casino and she used Hernandez’s bank card to pay a utility bill.

Burned human remains were found in Fernandez’s backyard.

Enrique Martinez, identified in court documents as Fernandez’s boyfriend, was also seen at the home.

At the time of Hernandez’s death, Martinez was wanted for the murder of Edil Rodriguez, 33, in 2023.

He is being held on no bond on that murder charge.

“I believe he was just as guilty as everybody else that was there,” Hernandez said. “We want the death penalty. That’s just what we want.”

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