LAYTON — A 21-year-old Hill Air Force Base airman’s attorney told a judge that his client fired in self-defense after assailants “jumped” him at a Clearfield party.
“When he fired those shots he had just suffered a brain injury,” defense attorney Bradley Henderson said of his client, Michael E. Hernandez, in a detention hearing Monday afternoon before 2nd District Judge Robert Dale.
“These people came to his home, jumped him and knocked him unconscious,” Henderson said. “They did not leave right away and he had in his mind they were still a threat to him and his wife and others.”
During a party at his Clearfield home March 14, Hernandez fired five shots, hitting one man. The Davis County Attorney’s Office charged him with first-degree felony attempted aggravated murder, five counts of felony discharge of a firearm and a count of second-degree felony obstructing justice.
Henderson asked Dale to grant Hernandez bail while he awaits trial. He’s been held without bail since the shooting.
“There certainly was an altercation, and he did get knocked down,” deputy county prosecutor Jason Nelson acknowledged. “But the defendant then did go retrieve a firearm and re-entered the fray.”
Nelson said there was “no one to engage with” and the people who attacked Hernandez were walking away, leaving the party.
One of the shots hit a man in the back, but the others missed.
“He fired five rounds,” Nelson said. “The other four didn’t hit a person, thank goodness.”
The prosecutor said the nature of the crime justified a no-bail order.
Henderson said Hernandez asked the men to leave the party. “Instead of leaving, they assaulted him severely,” he said.
Hernandez suffered a concussion, a broken cheek, black eyes and other injuries and a week later he still was on a liquid diet at the Davis County Jail in Farmington, Henderson said.
He asked Dale to release Hernandez so he could return to duty. “He can live in the barracks and can be restricted to the base or home,” he said.
As for those who attacked Hernandez, “There is no evidence he would want to find them even if he knew who they were,” the attorney said.
Dale was unpersuaded.
“That he would pursue somebody and shoot various rounds and not tell the truth about it, he does constitute a danger to the community,” the judge said, denying the bail request.
Police said in charging documents that Hernandez initially admitted to only shooting one round into the dirt. They also said the gun was hidden in his neighbor’s yard.