20-year-old pleads not guilty to alleged Mesa Verde murder: Bail ordered at $1M, next hearing scheduled for Oct. 27

“On Saturday, October 3, 2020, at 8:25 (a.m.), deputies responded to the 17500 block of Palowalla Road in Blythe’s unincorporated area for a report of an assault with a deadly weapon,” stated the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. “Deputies arrived and found the involved persons left the area. Shortly thereafter, deputies received information a victim had been taken to an area hospital for injuries due to the assault. Despite life-saving efforts by medical personnel, the victim died due to his injuries.”

At an Oct. 13 Riverside County Superior Court arraignment hearing, 20-year-old Blythe local Brandon Jesus Hernandez plead not guilty to alleged felony violations of Penal Code (PC) section 187(a), murder; PC section 422, criminal threats which will result in death or Great Bodily Injury (GBI); and PC section 245(a)(1), assault with a deadly weapon non-firearm or by force to cause GBI.

Hernandez also faces enhancement charges alleging violations of PC section 12022(b)(1), use of a weapon during commission of a felony.

The case stems from a morning Oct. 3 arrest in the neighboring unincorporated area of Mesa Verde, just west of Blythe, by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department – Colorado River Station.

“On Saturday, October 3, 2020, at 8:25 (a.m.), deputies responded to the 17500 block of Palowalla Road in Blythe’s unincorporated area for a report of an assault with a deadly weapon,” stated the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. “Deputies arrived and found the involved persons left the area. Shortly thereafter, deputies received information a victim had been taken to an area hospital for injuries due to the assault. Despite life-saving efforts by medical personnel, the victim died due to his injuries.”

According to jail information, Hernandez was arrested at 10:29 a.m. on Oct. 3 and formally booked at 3:53 a.m. on Oct. 4.

Hernandez’s originally scheduled arraignment was pushed to the Oct. 13 date; ordered bail was set at $1-million, with a felony settlement conference scheduled for the morning of Oct. 27.

Named as a co-defendant in the case is 23-year-old Blythe local Manuel Hector Gomez.

Gomez faces alleged felony violations of PC section 246.3(a), discharge firearm in negligent manner, and PC section 29815, probation restriction from owning/possessing/controlling firearm.

Following release with a scheduled Feb. 18, 2021, arraignment, Gomez was subsequently arrested on Oct. 9 in a separate case. For more on that case, see page B4.

The decedent in the Oct. 3 Mesa Verde incident was identified as 22-year-old Blythe local Victor Daniel Hernandez, whose public obituary states was a father of three with a fourth child on the way.

“The victim and suspect are not related,” noted the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. “This is an active investigation, and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department encourages anyone with information regarding the incident to contact Investigator Hernandez of the Central Homicide Unit at (951) 955-2777 or Investigator Barron at the Colorado River Station at (760) 921-7900.”

Additionally, Hernandez had an arraignment scheduled for Oct. 27 on a separate case, filed in June 2020, alleging misdemeanor violations of Vehicle Code (VC) section 12500(a), driving without a license, and VC section 2800.1(a), evading.

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