, Newburyport, MA

April 27, 2013

Suspect charged with stalking victim

By Jo-Anne MacKenzie
Staff writer

---- — SALEM, N.H. β€” After a plea deal fell apart just before a court hearing Thursday, things took an unusual twist.

Jonathan Hernandez, 23, was facing a domestic assault charge. He, the prosecutor and the victim had tentatively agreed to a plea deal, Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten said.

But Hernandez backed out of the agreement in 10th Circuit Court Thursday morning.

While still in the courthouse, Hernandez allegedly sent repeated text messages to the victim, asking her to drop the case and to tell police the assault was unintentional, Patten said.

After the case was continued, the victim advised the prosecutor and off-duty Officer Justin Bagley that Hernandez had been texting her throughout the proceedings, Patten said.

β€œHe had a criminal bail order in effect, restraining him from any communication with the victim,” Patten said.

By then, Hernandez had left the courthouse, but Bagley caught him in the parking lot and stopped him. Hernandez was taken into custody and arraigned on new charges in front of the same judge he had just appeared before.

This time, he was charged with stalking and tampering with a witness, the alleged victim.

He was held on $10,000 cash bail.