Convicted killer found sane in murder of man on Bakersfield bus
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) —
It took nearly six years and two trials, but Richard Gomez has been found both guilty and sane.
Gomez stabbed 24-year-old Lorenzo Hernandez on August 2, 2011 aboard a GET bus in east Bakersfield.
Prosecutor Arthur Norris says the men got into an argument while sitting at the bus stop on Pioneer Drive. It's not clear what they fought about.
The two men boarded the bus in different areas, but Gomez got up and proceeded to stab Hernandez twice in the chest. Hernandez was rushed to Kern Medical Center, but died shortly thereafter.
Gomez, who ran from the scene, was identified in surveillance video aboard the bus.
He pleaded not guilty to the murder charge by reason of insanity. A jury was unanimous in their decision about his guilt, but undecided on his mental state.
The two sides agreed to a bench trial to decide his sanity. A separate judge was selected to hear evidence and make the decision. All people are presumed sane until proven otherwise, so in a reversal from the norm, the defense had the burden of proof in the bench trial.
Judge Charles Brehmer ruled Thursday that Gomez was indeed not crazy. He returns to the judge from the first trial for sentencing next month. He faces 26 years to life in prison.
"Lorenzo was just on his way to wok, he wasn't doing anything whatsoever," said prosecutor Arthur Norris. "This isn't like a drug deal gone bad or Lorenzo doing something a little shady."