Brownsville Woman Cleared of All Charges in Hit-and-Run Trial
BROWNSVILLE - A Brownsville woman was cleared of all charges against her for a fatal hit-and-run accident two years ago.
A jury found Marisa Govea Hernandez not guilty of failing to stop to render aid.
It was an important case for supporters of both the victim and defendant. Seven law enforcement officers were called to the courtroom to keep order when the verdict was read.
When the judge declared Hernandez not guilty, she burst into tears.
It’s been more than two years since the night Hernandez struck and killed Mary Elizabeth Guzman Tipton.
The jury sat down through four days of testimony this week and it only took about three hours to reach a verdict.
The alleged crime on trial was the alleged failure to stop to render aid. Hernandez’s attorneys maintained that she did go back to search for whatever she may have hit, including with family members who are active law enforcement officers.
The victim’s body was found in a ditch two days later.
Hernandez broke her silence Friday and spoke to us about the verdict. She said her son, a sheriff deputy, did not cover up the hit-and-run to protect her as state prosecutors suggested.
“It’s been a lot of suffering these two years, a lot of suffering for all my family, friends and my sons, especially for them,” she said. “I’m very proud of my sons and it was the part that hurt me the most because I have two sons that serve the community, that are good people. They were attacking them the way they did all this time. That’s something that really hurt me, deep inside.”
The victim’s sister, Eglantina Guzman, spoke to us minutes after the verdict. She said she was in shock and didn’t understand at first.
Ralph Tipton, the victim’s widower, said he’s not surprised with the verdict, since there were too many mistakes. He said the investigation protocols in crime investigations need to change.
“There’s no protocol for things like these. If the lead detective was able to decide how much evidence to throw away or how much to keep, there’s no protocol. I mean he wasn’t even written up,” he said.
Tipton added he’s glad there is some closure for both families.
Hernandez was charged with injury involving death. Now that she is exonerated, the judge told her the charge will be removed from her record permanently in 30 days.
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