NewsCovering Kern County


Trial begins for man charged in death of Bakersfield Police Officer David Nelson

Posted at 7:14 PM, Mar 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-21 22:14:24-04

The trial for Julian Hernandez, the man who was allegedly fleeing from Bakersfield Police Officer David Nelson when he crashed and died, began on Wednesday.

The incident happened on June 26, 2015 after Hernandez was allegedly pulled over by Officer Nelson during a traffic stop. Hernandez then allegedly jumped back in his car after Nelson approached his vehicle, leading Nelson on a pursuit that ended on Panorama Drive when Nelson's patrol car lost traction and slammed into a wall, killing the officer.

Hernandez is charged with five felony counts, including second-degree murder and evading an officer causing death. 

The prosecution brought forward five officers on Wednesday, all members of the Bakersfield Police Department who have worked on the case.

Sgt. James Moore was the lead investigator on the case and interviewed Hernandez on the Saturday after the crash; in that interview, Moore testified that Hernandez admitted he was the driver of the vehicle Nelson was pursuing. He also said Hernandez exhibited a strong dislike for BPD (he believed his wife was cheating on him with a BPD officer), and he said that Hernandez said he "wanted to go toe-to-toe" with a BPD officer.

In that interview, Moore said Hernandez also stated he would not have stopped his car for BPD, but he might have for the Kern County's Sheriff's Office.

Meanwhile, the defense argued that Hernandez appeared to lie about the pursuit route during that interview, meaning any admission of guilt may be a false admission. In their opening statement, the defense said the prosecution would not be able to prove that Hernandez was guilty of second degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt.

The trial is set to resume Thursday at 9:30 a.m.