State Rep. Rafael Anchía (D-Dallas) is calling for an investigation into Texas’ Board of Pardons and Parole’s early release of the alleged shooter that killed two employees at Methodist Dallas Medical Center this past Saturday.
Nestor Oswaldo Hernandez, 30, was on parole and wearing an active ankle monitor when he allegedly assaulted his girlfriend, who had just given birth to their child. He then reportedly shot and killed Methodist employees Jacqueline Pokuaa, 45, and Katie Flowers, 63.
A hospital police sergeant nearby at the time engaged Hernandez and shot him. Hernandez was treated for being shot in the leg, then taken to jail on Wednesday.
He was charged with capital murder, and his bond was set at $3 million — $2 million for the capital murder of multiple persons and $1 million for aggravated assault on a public servant.
In a letter Wednesday, Anchía asked the state auditor to investigate the state parole board’s decision to allow Hernandez out on parole.
“Two people should still be alive today but for the failures of the Board of Pardons and Parole,” said Anchía, whose district includes the hospital where the shooting occurred. “They have wide latitude to keep people in jail if they see risk and they did not protect my community from this risk.”
Hernandez had previously served prison sentences after pleading guilty to a 2011 robbery and a 2015 robbery. In both cases, the victims of the crimes were assaulted.
In the 2015 case, Hernandez pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony in Texas, and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
However, he did not serve his entire sentence as the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole granted him parole on December 9, 2020, with one of the conditions being that he be under constant electronic monitoring.
Just within the last year, Hernandez violated his parole twice, according to Dallas Police. One of the violations occurred when he cut off his ankle monitor, which landed him back in prison.
But Hernandez would only serve 100 days in prison before the state parole board approved his release again. Anchia said the parole board could have kept him incarcerated for the remainder of his original eight-year sentence, which would have kept him locked up until September 2023.
“They should have revoked his parole. They did not,” Anchía suggested. “He was given special permission to go to Methodist Hospital despite the fact that he was violating his parole on a regular basis. So, I think we need answers from that entity.”
In Texas, the governor appoints the seven Board of Pardons and Parole members and oversees the corrections department. Gov. Greg Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Andrea Hardy, a spokeswoman for the state parole board, declined to comment specifically on Anchía’s call for an investigation but defended the early release of the felony-convicted alleged shooter, saying it is “not unusual for offenders with aggravated offenses” to have electronic monitoring.
“Special conditions of parole, such as the requirement for an electronic monitor, are at the discretion of the parole panel reviewing the case,” Hardy said.
Rep. Anchía also wants to know why Methodist Hospital police were not notified that Hernandez would be at their facility on Saturday.
“How do they not let Methodist police know that he is going to be on their campus? That is a massive failure,” said Anchia.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) confirmed on Tuesday that Hernandez was allowed to be at the hospital because his girlfriend had given birth to their child.
“Parole supervision allows those previously incarcerated to transition back into their community, which includes visiting family members in hospitals,” the TDCJ said in a statement. “There was not an indication that Hernandez would act out violently in a hospital, and allowing him the ability to visit loved ones in that setting would not be out of the normal course of supervision.”
Additionally, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco, and Explosives is working with the Dallas Police Department to determine how Hernandez obtained the gun police say he used in the shooting despite being convicted of a felony and on parole.
Well, isn’t that interesting. An article implying fault for this heinous crime may lie at the feet of a parole board appointed by Abbott, and not Cruezot, the liberal democrats, or the so called “open borders” of the Biden administration!