EL PASO, Texas - A Fort Bliss soldier shot a 21-year-old man four times because the victim had allegedly been stealing from him, then tried to destroy evidence linking him to the murder, a criminal complaint obtained by ABC-7 states.
Investigators identified 21-year-old Cornelius Dewayne Harrison as the person allegedly responsible for the murder of Frank Alexander Hernandez. Detectives charged Harrison with Murder.
On Wednesday January 3, 2018, sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a person lying in the middle of a roadway in Far East El Paso County near Hueco Tanks. A man told deputies he was on his way home when he noticed the victim lying in the road.
When deputies arrived at the scene, they found Hernandez's body lying on the ground in the 4400 block of Stagecoach Road. Detectives at the scene recovered two spent ammunition casings and two cigarette butts.
The victim had been shot in the stomach and face, the criminal complaint states. The medical examiner later determined Hernandez had been shot four times.
On January 4, 2018, detectives interviewed Quinton R. Whitfield Jr., who initially went to El Paso Police to report a murder he had just witnessed. Police referred Whitfield to the sheriff's office because the crime occurred in the county.
Whitfield told detectives he took a man named Shane Taft to Harrison's apartment at the Butterfield Trail Apartments at 10330 Gateway North. While at Harrison's apartment, Whitfield met with Kyle Jones, and Hernandez - the victim. Harrison asked Whitfield for a ride to Red Sands in Far East El Paso County so he could shoot his rifle, the court document states.
Whitfield drove Harrison, Taft, Jones and Hernandez to Red Sands, however, Whitfield could not remember how to get to Red Sands and Harrison allegedly asked him to turn onto a dirt road. Once in a desert area, Harrison fired his rifle because "they were in the middle of nowhere."
Moments later, Whitfield and Jones were sharing a cigarette when they heard additional gunshots. When they turned around, they noticed Harrison had shot Hernandez three times in the stomach and once in the head, the court document states.
Whitfield told detectives he overheard Harrison accusing Hernandez of stealing from them moments before Harrison shot Hernandez. Whitfield said Taft, Jones and Harrison got back into his Jeep and he drove away.
Whitfield further stated the group returned to the scene of the murder because Jones reminded them about the cigarette butts they threw away. When the group arrived at the scene, they could not find the cigarette butts, but did recover two spent ammunition casings, the criminal complaint states.
Whitfield told detectives Harrison pointed his rifle to the back of Jones' head and threatened to kill Jones because Jones had left the cigarette butt behind. Whitfield allegedly overheard Harrison telling Jones he would spare Jones' life because Jones had recovered some of the shell casings and because Jones once talked Harrison out of committing suicide.
Once back at Harrison's apartment, Harrison, Jones and Whitfield removed their clothing and threw it in the trash in order to get rid of evidence, court documents state. Whitfield told detectives Harrison ordered them to burn the victim's belongings, except for the victim's Xbox and iPhone. Harrison allegedly asked Whitfield if he could borrow Whitfield's Jeep in order to transport the rifle used in the murder to a location in Houston. Whitfield declined, court documents state.
The day after Whitfield met with detectives, sheriff's deputies located Harrison at the Butterfield Trail Apartments.
Under interrogation, Harrison told detectives Whitfield had no knowledge of what happened and accused Jones of shooting and killing Hernandez. Harrison allegedly told detectives Jones used Harrison's rifle to shoot and kill Hernandez.
Detectives later interviewed Jones, who allegedly said Harrison told him Hernandez had been stealing from Harrison and Taft. Jones told detectives Taft was upset at Hernandez and that Harrison told Taft not to worry because Taft would get a chance to confront Hernandez.
Jones allegedly corroborated Whitfield's story about the group driving out to the desert area in Far East El Paso County. Jones said he and Taft where under the impression the group was only going "to beat up" Hernandez and they had no idea Harrison intended to kill Hernandez.
Jones told detectives, that once in the Far East El Paso County desert, Harrison told Hernandez to get down on his knees because he was going to kill him. Jones said Harrison shot Hernandez three times, then stood over Hernandez's body and shot him in the face, the criminal complaint states.
When detectives interviewed Taft, he allegedly said Harrison accused Hernandez of stealing from them. Taft further stated that before Hernandez could respond, Harrison shot Hernandez four times.
Court documents state the victim's cell phone, wallet and social security card were recovered as evidence from Harrison's apartment. Under interrogation, Harrison allegedly told detectives he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and would kill himself before going to jail.