Second Suspect Pleads Guilty in D.C. Double Killing
Friday, August 21, 2009; 3:55 PM
A second suspect in the November beating and stabbing deaths of a D.C. couple pleaded guilty Friday in D.C. Superior Court.
Standing shackled in front of a judge, Angela Hernandez, 20, cried as she admitted to targeting Michael Spevak, 68, a psychiatrist, and his wife, Virginia, 67, a former teacher, because she had visited their home in the Chevy Chase neighborhood in the past as a friend of their former foster daughter.
Hernandez pleaded guilty to robbery and two counts of second-degree murder while armed. In January, another suspect, Peiro Fuentes Hernandez, 21, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder while armed. In March, police arrested a man who they think is the final suspect in the case, Jose Gilberto Portillo, 21. His hearing is scheduled for Sept. 11. Angela Hernandez and Peiro Fuentes Hernandez are not related.
At Friday's hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Truscott outlined details in the slayings that shocked the upper Northwest Washington neighborhood. Truscott said that on the evening of Nov. 20, 2008, the three arrived at the Spevaks' house in the 5200 block of Belt Road NW, tied them up and beat and stabbed them.
Truscott said Angela Hernandez was armed with a metal baton while one of the men had a gun. When Michael Spevak opened the door, the three forced their way inside and began beating him. Angela Hernandez then handed the two men telephone chords to bind the Spevaks while they searched the house for valuables, Truscott said.
After they had stolen a computer, jewelry and other items, one of the suspects expressed concern that the couple would identify Angela Hernandez, Truscott said. It was at that point, he said, that she began beating the elderly man while one of the other suspects stabbed him.
It remained unclear who stabbed Virginia Spevak. At the hearing in January, Peiro Fuentes Hernandez said Angela Hernandez beat and fatally stabbed Virginia Spevak. But at Friday's hearing, Angela Hernandez denied hitting or stabbing the woman.
"Did you beat Mr. Spevak?" Judge Michael L. Rankin asked. "Sí," Angela Hernandez responded, an interpreter at her side.
"Did you beat Mrs. Spevak or stab her with a knife?" Rankin asked. "No," she responded.
Angela Hernandez, like Peiro Fuentes Hernandez, is originally from El Salvador. In addition to deportation, she faces a maximum of 110 years in prison, although because she has no prior convictions and pleaded guilty, Angela Hernandez's court-appointed attorney, Heather Pinckney, said she hopes her client receives a lesser sentence.
Angela Hernandez, who has a 3-year-old daughter, is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 6.