Thirteen months after Fernandez was arrested, U.S. Marshals took him into custody and flew him to San Diego, where he arrived on March 2, 2010. “We met them at Lindbergh Field. The marshals and the San Diego Harbor Police brought the defendant over to where we were waiting at harbor police headquarters, and that’s where I took custody of him,” said Harvey.
“And I had a grin on my face like you wouldn’t believe,” he added.
Fernandez was driven to Carlsbad police headquarters. That night, Harvey wanted to do two things: conduct “an interview and collect evidence.” Carlsbad police took photographs and a DNA sample to compare with the evidence from the Carlsbad and Los Angeles crime scenes. “So everybody knows we are dealing with the same person.
“I got an interpreter from the DA’s office,” said Harvey. “This investigator is well traveled in Mexico and speaks very fluent Spanish. I had prepared about 13 pages of information to question him about, but he invoked his Miranda rights — his right to remain silent — at the time he was read his rights. Immediately. He didn’t seem scared. He knew what he was facing. He had 13 months to prepare before coming up. We had to give the Mexican authorities a complete copy of the case. He was aware of the evidence we had against him. He had 13 months to make a decision, whether or not he should talk to us, probably with the help of his counsel down there.”
Fernandez was held without bail. A photo taken in Mexico shows Fernandez is five feet five inches tall, and the San Diego Sheriff, upon admitting Fernandez to jail, estimated his weight as 180 pounds.
In June 2010, a preliminary hearing was held in the Vista courthouse. The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office granted jurisdiction to San Diego County for the Los Angeles attempted rape case. The woman who survived the 2004 rape attempt and beating, now 70 years old, traveled to Vista to testify and identify her attacker. Superior Court Judge Harry Elias ordered Fernandez to stand trial on five felonies, including murder and attempted rape with great bodily injury.
Four months later, Fernandez’s defense attorney asked for a plea deal. “The offer came from his side,” said Harvey. “He and his attorney made the offer to plead guilty.” Fernandez feared getting a sentence of life without parole if the case went to trial, according to Harvey.
On October 7, 2010, Fernandez, now 34, pleaded guilty to raping and killing Gladys Conrad in 2001 and to the attempted rape of Ramira Joves in 2004 and to causing her great bodily injury.
Fernandez was sentenced on January 6 to 34 years to life in prison. “We figured it out. He will be eligible for parole when he is something like 71 years old,” said Harvey.
“We have a good idea as to what happened,” said Harvey. “But our question is why? We were asking it knowing we would probably never get a response. We asked anyway. We asked through his attorney. We never got a response to the question. He said that he would pass that along to his client and let us know if there was a response. As of right now, there has not been one.”