An Indiana woman has been convicted of murdering her boyfriend with a comb last year.
The jury deliberated for just one hour on Thursday night before determining that Sierra M. Hernandez, 27, was guilty of murdering her boyfriend, 25-year-old Roderick Patterson, in May 2021.
According to court documents, Hernandez and Patterson had a tumultuous relationship. There are indications that Hernandez assaulted Patterson, that the two sent threatening text messages to one another, and that Patterson once threw rocks through Hernandez’s window.
Just before 4 a.m. on May 2, 2021, the couple were in the midst of yet another tempestuous fight, prosecutors claimed, when Hernandez eventually attacked Patterson with the sharp end of a rattail comb, stabbing him to death just outside her Fort Wayne home.
However, the defense countered that Hernandez was seven months pregnant at the time and could not have gripped the comb with enough force to stab the victim because her fingernails were too long. There wasn’t even any evidence that the two had had a physical altercation that evening, attorney Nikos Nakos alleged.
Shortly after the incident occurred, Hernandez told police that she was down the street, looking for her house key outside her car, when she heard Patterson scream and saw him clutch his chest. She then said she helped him into the house, applied pressure to the wound, and called 911. He later died at a local hospital.
Yet, police stated that her version of events did not align with the coroner’s report. They also said that Hernandez raised red flags when she identified the wound as a stab wound, even though an experienced detective initially suspected that Patterson had been struck by a small-caliber bullet.
Though the murder weapon itself was never identified, police claimed that two rattail combs with metal ends, taken from Hernandez’s residence, could have been used in the crime. No DNA was found on either comb.
Hernandez has been convicted of a single count of murder. She faces 45 to 65 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on December 16. The whereabouts of the child with whom she was pregnant at the time of the murder are unclear.