Husband found guilty in stabbing death of Raleigh student Christina Matos

Joel Brown Image
Wednesday, March 13, 2024
Husband found guilty in stabbing death of Raleigh student
Erick Gael Hernandez-Mendez has been found guilty in the murder of a Raleigh student who was found dead inside her apartment.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The man charged with murder in the death of a Raleigh student back in 2021 has been found guilty.

Raleigh police charged Erick Gael Hernandez-Mendez in the murder of Christina Matos, whose body was found in April.

Erick Gael Hernandez-Mendez
Raleigh Police Department

RPD discovered the body inside her locked bedroom, only hours after her mother and brother had gone to check on her. Her mother had a key to get inside the apartment but couldn't open Matos' locked bedroom door.

Matos was a student at Wake Technical Community College.

According to our newsgathering partners at the News & Observer, the 23-year-old stabbed his wife in the neck 16 times only days after marrying her for the sake of legal immigration status.

Hernandez-Mendez testified that he agreed to pay Matos $15,000 for the favor. He also said he witnessed her roommate, Kailey Lynch-Firicano, kill Matos and then agreed to hide the death because of a threat to hurt his family.

After hours of deliberation, the jury came back with a guilty verdict Wednesday. The judge also said Hernandez-Mendez would be sentenced to life in prison.

In Clayton, a mother and father are grieving and desperate for answers after their daughter was found killed inside her Raleigh apartment.

The N&O said the victim's family was in the courtroom and addressed Hernandez-Mendez.

"I cannot call you animal, because sometimes an animal has compassion," said Yolanda Matos, the victim's mother. "Look at what you did to her! Look at what you did to my family! Look at what you did to me!" she said.

"You are a traitor to your kind," Abraham Matos, the victim's brother, said. "A killer to the Hispanic community."