A man accused in the 1980 slaying of an Omaha woman will be tried on a reduced charge of second-degree murder.
Oscar Rosario Hernandez, 52, was captured last month on a 30-year-old arrest warrant in the death of Vickie Jo DeAnda.
The warrant was issued for first-degree murder. But a Douglas County Court judge reduced the charge Wednesday following testimony about DeAnda’s death.
According to Hernandez’s statements to police, DeAnda’s death was not premeditated.
“It’s unfortunate she’s not here to tell us what happened, and we’re left with what his story is,” said Chief Deputy Douglas County Attorney Brenda Beadle.
Drawing on statements from witnesses and Hernandez, prosecutors have pieced together the following events of Sept. 4, 1980:
Hernandez, then 20, went to DeAnda’s South Omaha home and grew angry when he discovered the 30-year-old woman with another man. DeAnda and Hernandez, a Mexican national working temporary jobs in Nebraska, had a prior relationship.
Hernandez chased the man out of the house and argued with DeAnda. She tried to hit him with a bottle of gimlet drink mix, but he grabbed it and knocked her unconscious. He later used the broken bottle to cut her neck.
After wrapping DeAnda’s body in a blanket and storing it in a kitchen closet, Hernandez cleaned the crime scene.
Hernandez left DeAnda’s house in her vehicle with several of her belongings. However, the stolen vehicle broke down at the Greenwood exit on Interstate 80. A truck driver remembers picking Hernandez up and helping him make a phone call.
Hernandez contacted a girlfriend, who picked him up. The girlfriend said Hernandez packed a suitcase and left her house on Sept. 5, 1980. She later found his shirt in her closet. It was stained with blood.
DeAnda was reported missing the day of her death. Police found her body seven days later.
Hernandez had fled to Mexico. U.S. Border Control agents caught up to him on Aug. 17 as he crossed into New Mexico, and he was extradited to Omaha later that month.