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IDAHO FALLS — This week Jameion K. Hernandez, 20, told authorities he had been planning to kill Lisa Stukey for a significant amount of time — possibly months, according to the testimony of Bonneville County Sheriff Detective Korey Payne.
Payne presented evidence about the case to Bonneville County prosecutors and a judge in his testimony during a probable cause hearing Thursday afternoon.
During the hearing, Payne referred to statements from Hernandez and several of his friends and family, who came forward with knowledge of the incident, matched the forensic evidence at the crime scene. As a result, investigators were able to get a fairly clear picture of the alleged crime.
Based on Hernandez’s statement and the last use of Stukey’s cell phone, investigators believe the murder occurred in the early morning hours of June 16.
Hernandez was said to be wearing black clothes, a mask and gloves when he arrived at the home on Ross Avenue. Payne says Hernandez initially tried to pick the lock, but was unsuccessful. He is said to have then kicked the door in, but “got spooked” and returned to his home.
Payne said Hernandez later returned with a purple aluminum baseball bat and navigated through the cluttered home.
“The house is what some people term as a hoarder’s house,” Payne said. “There was a lot of property, a lot of stuff stacked all over the place and not a lot of room to walk round.”
Hernandez then allegedly made his way to the opposite end of the house to Stukey’s bedroom. According to his statement, she awoke and got out of bed, Hernandez said. At that point Hernandez told police he struck her on the left side of the face with the bat.
She collapsed onto the floor.
After looting parts of the house, Hernandez is said to have heard Stukey moaning.
Tristan Furrows, a friend of Hernandez’s, told police what happened next in his statement to police.
“(Furrows) said that Jameion put a shirt over her head to not see her as he hit her with the bat … to finish her off,” Payne said in his testimony.
Hernandez told officials that afterwards he left the home and threw the bat into an unknown body of water, according to Payne.
Payne attributes the motive behind the attack to a dating relationship between Hernandez’s deceased grandfather and Stukey.
“(Jameion thought) that the relationship had ruined his family financially and it was one reason he believe his parents were getting a divorce,” Payne said. “He had hate for Stukey.”
When Stukey was discovered several weeks later on July 2, deputies were called to the scene for an unattended death. But Payne said once detectives removed the shirt from Stukey’s head it was obvious to them she had suffered severe head trauma.
Detectives also discovered the door had been kicked in and found a shoe print that matched shoes worn by Hernandez.
Preliminary reports from the Stukey’s autopsy confirm her injuries are consistent with the statement of Hernandez, Payne said.
The advanced decomposition of her body made identification difficult, but investigators say they are now confident the body is Stukey.
Hernandez was charged with first-degree murder on Wednesday. He appeared in court via video conference for arraignment on Thursday.
Because the charge carries the possibility of the death penalty, Hernandez was not allowed to post bond. The decision on the death penalty has not yet been made.
“At this time we’ve made no decisions regarding the death penalty — it’s simply too early on in the case to do that,” Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney Danny Clark told EastIdahoNews.com. “We’ll review the facts and the information over the coming weeks in order to make that determination.”
Clark said a conviction could alternatively result in life in prison with a 10-year mandatory minimum, along with a $50,000 fine.