By SDCN Editor
Banning, CA–Sentencing for a Cathedral City man convicted of murdering an innocent father who had moved into the former home of the intended victim, is scheduled for sentencing at the Banning Justice Center.
On Oct. 18, a jury found 27-year-old Josue Agustin Sanchezcasas guilty of the second-degree murder of Ruben Hernandez. He was also convicted of misdemeanor possession of drugs for sale and one felony count of shooting at an inhabited dwelling. Sanchezcasas faces a maximum of 15 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on Friday.
Ruben Hernandez, 43, and his young daughter were shot at their home on Avenida La Vista in Cathedral City on March 23, 2020. Hernandez was killed, but his daughter survived.
Sanchezcasas and Gabriel Hernandez, 24, who is not related to the victim, believed that an individual who once lived in the home on Avenida La Vista was responsible for their friend’s murder in La Quinta in October of 2019. Using another person’s truck, Sanchezcasas drove Gabriel Hernandez to the home on Avenida La Vista.
Gabriel Hernandez got out of the vehicle, went up to the house, tried to get in, and then fired several rounds through a metal security door. Ruben Hernandez and his 11-year-old daughter, who had moved into the house with the rest of the family only recently, were both hit by gunfire.
On April 1, 2020, Gabriel Hernandez was charged with one count of murder, and two counts of attempted murder for the death of Ruben Hernandez, the shooting of Ruben’s daughter, and the attempted shooting of another person at a second location, also on March 23, 2020.
The Riverside County Gang Impact Team, supervised by the DA’s Bureau of Investigation, was contacted to assist in finding any outstanding suspects. They worked in collaboration with Cathedral City police detectives to locate Josue Sanchezcasas’ brother Joel Sanchez, 22, in Tijuana, Mexico.
Sanchez, also of Cathedral City, was charged with helping Gabriel Hernandez escape arrest and avoid prosecution.
In a plea to the court, Sanchez also admitted to being an accessory to the crimes, possession of an unregistered firearm – a shotgun, in possession of a stolen firearm – a second shotgun. He was sentenced to three years and four months in prison.
Gabriel Hernandez also fled to Mexico, however, he has not been located, and a $1 million warrant was issued for his arrest.
“That justice was served brings peace to me and our four children,” said the widow of Ruben Hernandez, a beloved figure in the community. “It is my hope that the other suspect who has fled from authorities will soon be found. I thank Cathedral City Police and the Riverside County District Attorney’s office for the efforts they have made in this process.”
Ethan Joshua Bravo, DOB: 6-16-2000, is also charged with attempted murder for the second shooting on March 23, 2020. His trial is expected to begin in January 2024.