OAKLAND -- A Castro Valley man who stabbed his wife to death with a sharpened screwdriver in her Hayward office complex's parking lot in 2009 admitted from the witness stand Monday that he was wrong but said he had no idea what he was doing.
"I wanted to talk to her to see if I could fix the relationship; instead I did something wrong," Luis Hernandez, 49, said as he began to loudly sob. "I don't know what I did it because I still loved her."
Hernandez, who is trying to persuade a jury that the killing of Rose Goulart, 46, was done in the heat of passion and was not a premeditated murder, said he tried to kill himself the night before the shooting by overdosing on pain medicine and drinking beers.
The effects of those drugs and drinks continued to fog his mind the next day, Hernandez said, when he decided to drive to his wife's office in a borrowed car to confront her. Just two days before he had sent a dozen roses to her workplace, and when he contacted her the following day -- calling from a payphone because Goulart would not answer if she knew it was him -- a friend of Goulart's son got on the phone and told Hernandez that he was her new boyfriend and would beat him up.
Under questioning by his attorney Deborah Levy, Hernandez said he was upset that his wife left him after a 17-year relationship and claimed he took 10 morphine pills, 60 Prozac pills, seven Xanax pills and drank 20 beers the night before the killing in hopes of
Despite the heavy medication, he said, he had trouble sleeping and awoke at about 6 a.m. and drove to a 7-Eleven to enlist a day laborer for a project he was working on.
While out, he said, he saw his wife's car behind him and that is when he decided to confront her at her office.
Hernandez said he could not remember anything after making that decision, and his next memory is of being in police custody.
He said he doesn't remember putting on gloves, a New York Yankees baseball hat or the dark hoodie he wore during the stabbing. He said he also doesn't remember getting out of the borrowed car, stabbing his wife or fighting off three of her co-workers who tried to get him to stop.
"I don't know what I was doing," he said as he stared blankly at the floor, not making eye contact with anyone in the courtroom.
Deputy District Attorney Lindsay Walsh told the jury during opening statements that the killing was a premeditated first-degree murder and that she would prove Hernandez knew exactly what he was doing as he planned and then carried out the killing.
Hernandez purposely borrowed an aunt's car so he wouldn't be noticed by Goulart's co-workers who knew she had a restraining order against him, Walsh said, and wore dark clothing and a hat to conceal his identity.
Hernandez said he did borrow the car with the intention of following Goulart because he wanted to confront her new boyfriend.
The killing, Walsh said, was done because Hernandez was upset about losing control over a woman he dominated during a physical and emotional years-long abusive relationship.
Although the couple's son, Luis Hernandez Jr., and several of Goulart's co-workers have already testified about the physical abuse Hernandez directed toward Goulart, the defendant denied ever punching his wife.