Man who raped, murdered St. George teen dies in prison assault

Carlos-Adrian Javier Hernandez | Photo courtesy of Utah Department of Corrections, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A man who was just 14 when he raped and killed a 15-year-old St. George girl has died after allegedly being assaulted inside his cell at the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison.

Carlos-Adrian Javier Hernandez | Photo courtesy of Utah Department of Corrections, St. George News
Carlos-Adrian Javier Hernandez | Photo courtesy of Utah Department of Corrections, St. George News

Carlos-Adrian Javier Hernandez, 24 – convicted of killing Keely Amber Hall in 2007 – died in a hospital early Friday morning after guards found him unconscious in his cell the night before, Utah Department of Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Adams said in statement.

“Officers heard suspicious noises coming from the cell at approximately 8 p.m. (Thursday) and went to investigate,” Adams said. “They observed (Hernandez) unconscious on the floor. Officers entered the cell, removed the cellmate and medical staff immediately began tending Hernandez.”

Hernandez was rushed to Gunnison Valley Hospital and then flown by helicopter to Utah Valley Hospital in Provo, where he was pronounced dead at 12:41 a.m. Friday, the Utah Department of Corrections said.

Julio Cesar Garza | Photo courtesy of Utah Department of Corrections, St. George News
Julio Cesar Garza | Photo courtesy of Utah Department of Corrections, St. George News

Hernandez’s death is being investigated as a homicide. Officials said Hernandez had been physically assaulted by his cellmate – identified as 25-year-old Julio Cesar Garza, who is serving time for aggravated robbery, possession of a prohibited item in a correctional facility and assault by a prisoner.

Garza was convicted in 2012 of punching another inmate in the head multiple times while the two were in a holding cell at 3rd District Court, according to court records. Additionally, Garza was convicted in a separate case in 2012 of punching a Department of Corrections officer in the eye and mouth after the officer found a razor knife hidden in his cell.

A joint investigation into Hernandez’s death is being conducted by the prison’s Law Enforcement Bureau and the Gunnison City Police Department.

Keely Amber Hall obituary photo, St. George News
Keely Amber Hall obituary photo, St. George News

Hernandez, a Mexican national, was convicted of strangling his 15-year-old neighbor, Keely Amber Hall, of St. George, to death in 2007 and dumping her body in a neighborhood park.

Hernandez had met Hall in the early-morning hours of Jan. 10, 2007, at Dixie Downs Park in St. George, where he made sexual advances and was rebuffed, according to prosecutors. Hernandez then raped and strangled the girl.

Hernandez, who was 14 when he committed the murder, was charged with first-degree murder, rape and aggravated sexual assault and ordered to stand trial as an adult.

When he was 15, he pleaded guilty to rape and murder in exchange for a charge of aggravated sexual assault being dropped. He was sentenced to serve a 15-to-life sentence for murder and a five-years-to-life term for rape.

A plaque commemorating murder victim Keely Amber Hall was placed in Dixie Downs Park in March 2015. St. George City officials also planted a tree nearby in Hall’s memory, St. George, Utah, Aug. 29, 2016 | Photo by Mike Cole, St. George News
A plaque commemorating murder victim Keely Amber Hall was placed in Dixie Downs Park in March 2015. St. George City officials also planted a tree nearby in Hall’s memory, St. George, Utah, Aug. 29, 2016 | Photo by Mike Cole, St. George News

At 15 years old, Hernandez became the youngest inmate in the Utah prison system. Hernandez’s first parole hearing was scheduled for January 2027.

The Department of Corrections said it has been unable to find Hernandez’s next-of-kin. Officials are working with the Mexican Consulate for assistance. Anyone with information that may assist the department in notifying Hernandez’s next-of-kin is asked to call 801-545-5658.

A plaque commemorating Hall was placed in March 2015 near the Dixie Downs Park pavilion. St. George City officials also planted a tree nearby in Hall’s memory.

Surveillance cameras were set up by city officials in Dixie Downs Park following Hall’s rape and murder. Similar surveillance systems have been set up in additional locations since that time.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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Email: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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20 Comments

  • LocalTourist August 29, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Why am I not feeling bad at the loss of a human life?
    Probably because he had already shown he couldn’t exist in society. I don’t feel bad at his passing, at all.

  • 42214 August 29, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Thank-you SGNews for starting my day with a happy, uplifting story.

    • .... August 29, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      Yep got my day started on a good note !

  • Henry August 29, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Karma

  • RealMcCoy August 29, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Sorry (not sorry), but I feel no sadness that this lowlife Carlos Hernandez was killed. I hope it was a slow, painful death.
    In a totally unrelated thought, I think poor Mr. Julio Cesar Garza might like a nice #fundraiser donation to his commissary fund. I’m happy to donate!

    • .... August 29, 2016 at 6:47 pm

      If you any questions about what happened ask Bob he knows everything

  • Ron August 29, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    It’s called…Karma.
    RIP Keely Amber Hall.

  • Real Life August 29, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Adios, and good riddance.

  • Bob August 29, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    So is Gunnison state prison just jam packed with illegal-mexican criminals or what? And so nice that they’re able to do neck tattoos in prison, huh…

    • Bob August 29, 2016 at 1:02 pm

      oh, nevermind on the tattoo

      • .... August 29, 2016 at 4:54 pm

        My condolences to the family Bob

        • Bob August 29, 2016 at 7:58 pm

          ur just a condoling machine, aren’t u? lol

          • .... August 29, 2016 at 11:51 pm

            Well yeah to your family because they have you

  • ladybugavenger August 29, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Do you think he was raped before he was killed? That would be nice. I’ll donate to the commissary #fundraiser

  • thegreatone August 29, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Glad someone exterminated this trash before he could reproduce. A lower power is waiting to interview him.

  • Carrie August 29, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    I think they should shorten Garza’s sentence for a job well done.

  • .... August 29, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    Just as long as he’s dead that’s all that matters. !

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