OAKLAND -- Rose Goulart lived in an abusive relationship for more seven years, constantly being tortured physically and emotionally by her common-law husband Luis Hernandez, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
In late 2008, Goulart, 46, finally gained the courage to leave and at 4:30 a.m. she packed her bags and left the home the couple shared in Castro Valley with her two teenage kids.
In the five months that followed, Hernandez, 49, harassed Goulart alternating between threats to her life and apologizes for his past actions in an effort to have her return.
While this pattern of behavior worked in the past, this time it did not and Goulart pressed on with a legal separation as she sought restraining orders, custody of her children and a payment from Hernandez for the house they shared.
All the while, Goulart kept meticulous notes of the threats, sending frequent emails to her attorney notifying him of the latest rant sent from Hernandez.
"I'm really scared, I really fear for my life now," she wrote in an email on May 28, 2009. "If anything happens to me, I want you to be aware."
The next morning, Goulart was killed, stabbed to death by Hernandez in the parking lot of the St. Rose Hospital campus in Hayward as about a half-dozen of Goulart's co-workers watched in horror.
The murder, prosecutor Lindsay Walsh said in opening statements, was premeditated and deliberate and occurred after Hernandez was lying in wait in a borrowed car to ambush Goulart as she walked to her office at Bay Area Medical Group.
Realizing that he no longer had control over Goulart, Walsh said, Hernandez planned a killing.
He borrowed an aunt's car so he wouldn't be noticed as he waited in the parking lot for Goulart's arrival to work. He outfitted himself in boots, gloves, a dark sweatshirt, camouflage pants and a dark blue New York Yankees cap. And, Walsh said, he molded two screwdrivers into sharp metal sticks that he would eventually use to killing the mother of his children.
"He's desperate and he is going to regain that control and dominance over her," Walsh said. "The defendant was desperate to regain the one thing he was losing control of. He made the conscious and deliberate decision."
Hernandez didn't just stab Goulart a couple of times, Walsh said, he attempted to mutilate Goulart, stabbing her 24 times using a screwdriver he fashioned into an ice pick. When he was done stabbing Goulart, Hernandez stuck the screwdriver into her chest and then turned it from side to side, the prosecutor said.
And, Walsh said, as Goulart lay dying in the middle of the parking lot with a screwdriver sticking from her chest, Hernandez walked over and kicked her twice in the head.
Hernandez was so focused on killing Goulart that he was able to fight off three of Goulart's co-workers who tugged on his clothing and hit him with shoes and a purse in an effort to stop the attack.
It was a murder so heinous that the Alameda County District Attorney's Office originally sought the death penalty against Hernandez but decided against it with no explanation just before the trial began.
Walsh declined to comment on that decision Tuesday but said Hernandez will face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted as charged.
Hernandez's attorney, Deborah Levy, admitted her client killed Goulart and did not dispute how it occurred but said the action was done in a "heat of passion" and as a result should not be considered a special circumstances murder.
"Rage is a horrible, destructive, incredibly bad emotion but it is very human," Levy said to the jury. "We're not going to deny the act, we're not denying the actions but the evidence will also show you Mr. Hernandez's state of mind. The evidence will show beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Hernandez snapped."
But Walsh said evidence will prove that Hernandez did not simply "snap" and act in a heat of passion.
The numerous threats he sent in the months preceding the murder and his actions during and after the killing prove he had a deliberate plan to kill, she said.
"He never stops stabbing her," Walsh said. "And as she lay there lifeless with a screwdriver sticking out of her, he stood there calmly waiting to be arrested."