Journal shows fixation with cults
Mar. 20, 2004
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Saturday March 20, 2004
A 14-year-old accused of killing a classmate recorded his violent obsessions, fixations on prayer and detailed plans for self-improvement in a journal made public by prosecutors on Friday.
At the bottom of a printout on mass murderers, Michael Hernandez scrawled this message: “Will become a serial killer.”
The journal — released by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office following public records requests — offers a glimpse into the conflicted mind of an eighth-grader who dwelled on common teenage problems such as acne and homework, but also fixated on cults and murder.
It also might shed light on how a straight-A student allegedly could murder his best friend, then confess to detectives but offer no explanation.
According to police, Hernandez packed a serrated knife and a latex glove in his book bag before heading off to school, where he stabbed 14-year-old Jaime Gough in the boy’s bathroom on Feb. 3. Gough bled to death in a bathroom stall.
A grand jury indicted Hernandez on a first-degree murder charge for the slaying. He will be tried as an adult.
Defense attorney Richard Rosenbaum said the release of his client’s journal could hamper his ability to find an impartial jury.
“It makes it much more difficult for people to keep an open mind,” said Rosenbaum, who would not comment on the journal’s contents. He also would not say whether he plans to pursue an insanity defense.
In the 41 pages that were released, Hernandez’s comes across as a troubled boy who was largely preoccupied with death, perfection and compiling lists. The documents were released in accordance with state laws that make much of the prosecution’s evidence public after it is given to defense attorneys.
Hernandez compiled exhaustive lists of violent video games and movies, kept instructions for making Molotov cocktails and explosives, doodled crosses on some pages, and wrote “White Power” under a swastika on ruled school paper. Hernandez is Hispanic.
One page seems to be a lengthy to-do list in which he reminds himself to workout everyday, read the Bible, worship and pray daily, learn to draw, switch pens every two weeks and “learn to be a pimp (sex).”
Another is a list of things he strives to be: perfect, dark, psychotic, isolated, smart, sophisticated, exact.
Yet another page is filled with short phrases that detail conflicted thoughts, such as: carve cross, take right eye, leave note, stay alone, never forget God ever, have a cult and plan a mass kidnapping for new world, be an expert thief.
There is even a list of jobs he might have been interested in at the time: psychologist, vice president of a company or “anything that pays.”
The final 10 pages of the journal resemble unfinished lists with the headings: weapons, body counts, names and what was done.
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