Man charged with murder appears in court

No plea entered
Francine Sawyer
Sun Journal Staff
April 30, 2007 - 3:48PM

As extra security stood sentry in Craven County district court, an interpreter told a judge that Jorge Angel Hernandez understood that he was being charged with murder.

Hernandez made his first appearance in court Monday, four days after investigators say he shot and killed his estranged wife outside a Fort Barnwell home.

Through the interpreter, Hernandez also asked for a court-appointed attorney. He was not asked to enter a plea.

Hernandez is facing an open count of murder in connection with shooting Alma Rios Angel, 19, Thursday, five times in the head. He then took the couple’s 17-month-old daughter.
She was located unharmed about five hours after the shooting at the home of one of Hernandez’s relatives in Grimesland. He was found a short time later hiding in a back yard shed.

Rick Barney, lead investigator with the Craven County Sheriff’s office, said the handgun used in the shooting was located at the scene. He said authorities are looking into its history.

Scott Thomas, Craven County district attorney, said Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) is currently investigating Fernandez’s alien status.

“If he is not a legal alien, when he completes his sentence here, he will be deported back to Mexico,” Thomas said.

A few of Hernandez’s relatives were in court Monday, but none of Angel’s relatives were there. They said last week that they were preparing for Angel to be buried in Mexico.

They said that had not known Hernandez to be violent. They and neighbors believed the shooting may have been the result of a dispute between the couple about their daughter.

Authorities have said the shooting was domestic in nature but have not provided details.

His next court appearance is scheduled for May 21, when he is expected to enter a plea.