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Phillip Hernandez, Calif. father, accused of killing 9-year-old son with a hatchet

Phillip Raymond Hernandez is accused of killing his son, 9, with a hatchet on Feb. 26, 2013.
Sacramento Police Dept. via CBS Sacramento
(CBS/AP) SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Phillip Raymond Hernandez, of Sacramento, Calif., is behind bars after allegedly killing his 9-year-old son with a hatchet on Tuesday night, CBS Sacramento reports.

Police say a hysterical relative, who was at the family's home, called 911 just before midnight on Tuesday, reporting the boy had died.

When authorities arrived at the home they found Matthew Hernandez dead from blunt force trauma to the head, the station reports. Police were reportedly told the boy's father, 36-year-old Phillip Hernandez, was to blame.

Hernandez was located and arrested about 15 minutes later.

According to Sacramento Police Department spokesperson Officer Michelle Gigante, Hernandez was in the backyard of his home when he grabbed a hatchet, broke through a sliding glass door of the home and stood of his son, who was sleeping on a couch, the station reports. An adult family member heard the crash, came downstairs and tried to stop Hernandez, but was shoved aside. Hernandez then attacked his son, according to reports.

A second son, 12, was also in the home at the time of the incident. He was unharmed and is now in the custody of his family.

The hatchet believed to be used in the killing was recovered at the scene.

Police say they don't know why Hernandez allegedly attacked his son.

Court records reveal Hernandez was in a long custody battle to keep his sons. The children's mother won full custody in 2006 after Hernandez was arrested for allegedly beating her, the station reports.

According to CBS Sacramento, Hernandez was convicted of corporal injury on a spouse and served more than a year in prison. After his release, he fought for custody of his children. He reportedly wrote the judge, "It's been over three years since I last saw them... they are what matter, my view of life is what is important... I love them with all of my heart and I want to give what I didn't have... a father."

In 2009, the boys' mother gave Hernandez custody, saying she wasn't financially able to support them. But in 2012, she fought to get them back.

"He was going through rough times and so we don't know what triggered, but obviously something did and it's a tragedy we all have to deal with," family member Chris Duran said.

  • Crimesider Staff

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