St. George man tells police he stabbed friend to death after hearing spirits’ warning

St. George man tells police he stabbed friend to death after hearing spirits’ warning

(Crime scene photo: Cody Blowers; Booking photo: Washington County Sheriff's Office, St. George New)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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ST. GEORGE — A judge last week ordered Victor Manuel Hernandez to stand trial for first-degree murder for allegedly choking and stabbing a man to death in June.

Hernandez, 21, of St George, is accused of killing 23-year-old Luwing Lopez during an argument that took place at Lopez’s apartment in the 200 block of South 100 West on June 21.

Judge Jeffery Wilcox in 5th District Court issued his ruling at a preliminary hearing where additional details of the killing and Hernandez’s arrest on June 22 were brought to light.

St. George Police Lt. Rich Tripplett testified to statements made by the defendant during three interviews with police June 22. He said Hernandez was read his Miranda rights during the first interview at 12:45 p.m., but not during the two subsequent interviews that took place hours later on the same day.

Hernandez denied killing Lopez in the first interview, which was held at the police station and conducted by Tripplett and St. George Police officer Nick Garcia, who were both fluent in Spanish and able to communicate with the defendant.

At 7:45 p.m. detectives conducted the second interview in which Hernandez allegedly confessed to killing Lopez, but said he had an accomplice named “Geremo.”

The third interview was conducted at 8:45 p.m. when detectives showed Hernandez photos of the knife, clothing, a pair of shoes and other evidence, at which point Hernandez confessed to killing Lopez, Tripplett testified.

It was during that interview that Hernandez told police he and Lopez had been friends for several months, and went to the apartment on South 100 West after Lopez invited him over to “do drugs.”

They both smoked marijuana, but then Lopez began smoking methamphetamine. He offered the pipe to Hernandez, who told him that the “pipe was cursed, and that he didn’t smoke out of a pipe.”

Hernandez also told detectives that he and his family members have a “sixth sense” and have the ability to hear spirits.

Those spirits purportedly told Hernandez that “Lopez intended to sacrifice Hernandez’s newborn son to the devil and to his angels,” Tripplett testified, adding that the child lives with its mother in Mesquite, Nevada, and was not present in the apartment at the time.

Read the full article at St. George News.

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