San Angelo man pleads in death of Selena Bradley, unborn child; family speaks as case ends
SAN ANGELO — Selena Bradley's family says no sentence is enough for the man who killer her and her unborn child.
About 20 people attended a plea hearing Wednesday, during which a San Angelo man received two life sentences in the murder of Selena Bradley, a pregnant mother of two. Bradley's family, along with a child who had been sexually assaulted by the man, were in attendance.
About 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, William James Hernandez, 39, sat in a courtroom before 51st District Court Judge Carmen Dusek for a plea hearing. He faced two October murder charges in the deaths of Selena Bradley, 23, and their unborn son, Xavier.
More about this case:'It's hard to believe she's really gone,' family of Selena Bradley speak on loss
Many of Selena Bradley's family members attended the hearing. The courtroom was mostly silent, minus the whispered comforts between friends and family.
In the child sex crimes case, he pleaded guilty to continuous sexual abuse of a child younger than 14 years old. The state recommended 25 years in jail.
Sitting in the front row, the child watched as Hernandez pleaded guilty. In the their statement, they described their fear to talk, their struggles with affection and how Hernandez hurt them physically and mentally.
"Hearing him say he was guilty was like honey on top," the child said, after Hernandez was sentenced to 25 years in their case.
Hernandez pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence, to which the state recommended the maximum sentence of 20 years. He also pleaded guilty to murdering Selena Bradley and their unborn child in October.
The state recommended two life sentences in the murders.
Dusek accepted the state's recommendation as listed and the sentences will run concurrently. He will have to register as a sex offender and pay $13,385 in restitution.
'No sentence will be complete justice'
Christie Skelton, Bradley's mother, spoke through tears to read the family's victim impact statement to the court.
In Skelton's statement, she mentioned Bradley's son, 3, and daughter, 4. The daughter has asked to talk to Bradley in the cemetery. The son asked Skelton if she was his new mom, according to her statement.
"They will never see their mommy again," Skelton said. "We know we'll have to relive this as they grow older and ask questions. The pain does not end today, but today, the healing may begin."
Skelton also stated she can't look at her freezer, knowing her daughter stayed in one for three days before she was found.
Upon leaving the courtroom, both the child and Bradley's family gathered on the courthouse steps. Bradley's family recognized the sentences and hoped to heal, but continued to struggle with the loss.
"No amount of time will bring her back or let me meet my nephew," said Chris Burney, Bradley's brother.
Skelton added, "no sentence will be complete justice."
The State of Texas vs. William James Hernandez
Chris Burney, Selena's brother, last saw her when she came to his house for dinner. They had chili dogs, and Burney's wife and a roommate dyed Selena's hair purple.
The next day, Oct. 16, she disappeared. On Oct. 19, she was found in a freezer, wrapped in a blue tarp, at Hernandez's house in the 100 block of Allen Street. The indictment listed her cause of death as choking.
Hernandez was arrested near Hamlin on suspicion of her murder. He was her boyfriend of six months, the father to her 14-week-old unborn child, and a close friend of Burney's.
"You never expect this to happen to your family. For this to hit not close, but dead center in our home, it’s a feeling that can’t be described," Burney said in a previous interview.
Hernandez' child sex crimes stem from 2017
On Feb. 25, 2020, Hernandez was arrested under the indicted charges of continuous sex abuse of a child younger than 14, two counts of sexual assault of a child and two counts of indecency with a child by sexual contact.
The assaults happened on June 15, 2017, according to the indictments.
He was released from jail on a $50,000 bond with a condition of no contact with the victim hours after his arrest, according to online jail records.
Hernandez has also used the name William James Martinez.
Alana Edgin is a journalist covering Crime and Courts in West Texas. Send her a news tip at email@example.com.