Court overturns part of conviction in Arroyo Grande cross burning case
October 17, 2014
A California appellate court has overturned two of the four convictions of a San Simeon man currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for his involvement in the 2011 cross-burning incident in Arroyo Grande. [Tribune]
In June 2012, a San Luis Obispo jury convicted Jeremiah Leo Hernandez, currently 36, of arson, terrorism in the form of a cross burning, terrorism in the form of arson targeting a person’s race and conspiracy to commit a crime. Hernandez also received a hate crime enhancement.
But, a second district appellate court ruled in August that the convictions of arson and terrorism in the form of arson are not valid when coupled with the cross burning count. The appellate court has ordered that a San Luis Obispo judge reverse and discount the two invalid convictions and re-sentence Hernandez.
Hernandez will return to San Luis Obispo Superior Court next month and could be out of prison in as soon as a year.
Following the arrests of four men in the cross burning, Hernandez was the only one to go to trial. The other three agreed to plea deals.
One of the men convicted received a 12-year prison sentence, while the other two were each sentenced to five years.