17 year-old arrested for homicide of Jacob Hernandez

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SAN ANGELO, Texas — A man is behind bars in Abilene in connection with a murder that occurred on May 26, 2021, according to public arrest records.

17 year-old Francisco Josiah Morales, of Abilene, was booked into Taylor County Detention Center on Thursday, June 17. The warrant for his arrest was issued in Tom Green County.

According to the arrest warrant, Morales is accused of entering Jacob Hernandez’s apartment and shooting him with a handgun that was later found on the steps leading to the apartment.

Investigators with the San Angelo Police Department were able to use a combination of surveillance footage recorded at the scene of the murder, data from a nearby cellular tower, and a backpack left at the scene to obtain the arrest warrant.

When investigators entered Hernandez’s apartment, they found him “laying on his back, not breathing, with apparent blood on his body.” An autopsy later confirmed that Hernandez had died from a gunshot wound to the chest.

According to the arrest warrant, footage from a Ring doorbell at the victim’s apartment and an Adidas backpack left at the scene eventually led investigators to issue the warrant for Morales’ arrest.

In the footage, two suspects can be seen approaching Hernandez’s apartment. One suspect, according to the warrant, can be seen wearing shredded jeans, a dark hoodie with three stripes on the sleeve, and black tennis shoes with “what appeared to be white or reflective color on the heel.” The suspect in the footage can also be seen carrying a black and white Adidas backpack.

Investigators found the black and white backpack at the murder scene. A pendant found in the backpack was traced to a friend of Morales by investigators, who confirmed that the defendant owned the same kind of backpack and provided investigators with photographs of Morales that matched the appearance and build of the suspect in the footage from the murder scene.

In the course of the investigation, it was revealed that Morales had been arrested in Bronte, Texas on May 23, 2021, and had been transported to the Tom Green County Jail with a backpack like the one left at the scene of Hernandez’s murder. SAPD investigators were able to obtain Morales’ phone number from records of the May 23 arrest and located Morales’ mother in Taylor County.

When interviewed, Morales’ mother confirmed that she had seen him with the Adidas backpack and that he owned torn jeans and a black hoodie with three stripes on the sleeve which matched the appearance of the clothing worn by the suspect recorded on the Ring doorbell footage.

Police obtained a search warrant for Morales’ bedroom and found torn jeans, and Nike tennis shoes that matched the Ring doorbell footage.

After the search, police obtained a warrant to search cellular tower data. Investigators were able to link Morales’ phone number to a cellular tower near Hernandez’s apartment between the hours of 2:00 AM and 3:00 AM on the night of the murder.

Morales is currently being held in the Taylor County Detention Center. His bond is set at $500 thousand.

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