BRAWLEY, Calif. - Eduardo Tolentino, 29, accused of shooting to death a local man described by many as a good Samaritan, was in court on Tuesday facing new charges.
Imperial County Deputy District Attorney Mario Vela said, “Mr. Tolentino along with eight other inmates attacked another inmate while at the jail hurting him badly. He had to be taken to the hospital. They’re all being charged with assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury.”
Vela is prioritizing the charges against Tolentino
“We’ll be resolving the murder first before we can proceed with these two instances of violence while at the jail,” Vela said.
Tolentino was previously charged in connection with the death of Brawley resident Daniel Hernandez last year at a gas station. The victim’s family celebrated on Monday the victim’s would-be 26 birthday at Riverview Cemetery.
Frank Romero, the victim’s uncle described the gathering.
“It was filled with nothing but friends, family, food. We kind of had a buffet out there. His kids blew out his birthday candles. We cut the cake. And it was somewhere you don’t want to celebrate a birthday but we gotta do what we gotta do to keep his spirit alive,” Romero said.
Hernandez left behind three grade school children and a wife.
“His passing left a big dent in us and we’re not going to let that hurt us any more than what it already has,” Romero said.
Romero described Hernandez as a good Samaritan.
“Because Daniel was always willing to help somebody out. Daniel was always willing to take the t-shirt off his back to give to you. If you were hungry, he fed you,” Romero said.
He read a prepared message from the parents of Hernandez.
“No family has to go through this, for his children blowing out his birthday candles at his grave making a wish to have their father there which seems like a nightmare,” Romero read aloud.
Romero said the family wants to see the man responsible to pay for the pain he’s caused.
“We’re going to get justice regardless of how it comes by but we’re going to get justice,” Romero said.
If convicted, Tolentino faces sentencing enhancements under the state’s three strikes law for previous convictions. His trial is in October.