Inmate Ariel Hernandez has a Bone to Pick

Categories: News


Riptide got a package in the mail a few days ago. At first, we thought it might be a Christmas present, or a juicy story tip, but then we recognized the handwriting. It was from an inmate we've gotten to know pretty well over the last couple months.

A few weeks ago, New Times ran a story about Jeanette Smith, a Cooper City stripper who was sodomized, murdered and thrown in the everglades. The gist: A former marine sniper named Ariel Hernandez, who admitted to dumping the body -- but says he was framed -- will now face the death penalty for the crime. (For the whole story, click here.)

In exchange for an interview, Riptide promised to send Hernandez a copy of the story, which partly told the tale of his deviant past and our jailhouse encounter with him. So we did.

Soon, we got a reaction:

"The only problem I got with the article," he said over the phone, "is with that masturbation shit."


The story made note that, while left unattended during an interview with cops, Hernandez "sexually gratified" himself. This was all according to a Broward Investigative Action Report. The report stated he afterwards wiped his hands on a nearby trash can. Hernandez wasn't happy about that being in print.

So when we opened his package a few days ago, we weren't quite sure what to expect. But there they were: a stack of crime lab analysis reports - new to New Times -- with some parts highlighted in yellow. Stuck to the documents were several yellow Post-it notes, decorated in Hernandez's scratchy handwriting. One read: Ask yourself why cops would lie about observing me masturbate?

The clime lab report, from Broward Sheriff's Office, goes on to show that there was indeed no seminal fluid found on the bag in question. (We're still not entirely convinced this means cops lied.)

More importantly, though, were the parts he neglected to highlight. A few pages in, was the meat: Lab results concluded Hernandez's sperm was found in Smith's mouth and a nearby blanket and comforter.

Doesn't help his case much.

--Natalie O'Neill

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