Local News

Man gets 16-20 years in prison for running over, killing boy

Posted May 21, 2009

— A Four Oaks man was sentenced Thursday to more than 16 years in prison for running over and killing a 7-year-old boy last year.

A jury convicted Hipolito Hernandez, 31, of Parkertown Road, of second-degree murder and driving while impaired in the April 13, 2008, wreck that led to the death of Marcus Lassiter. He was sentenced to 196 to 254 months in prison.

Marcus Lassiter, killed in Johnston County wreck Man sentenced in boy's death

Lassiter had been playing in his grandmother's yard and was trying to cross Heath Road when he was struck, and he later died in a hospital.

Hernandez, an illegal immigrant, had been charged with DWI four previous times. Two of the charges were dismissed, one was reduced, and the fourth was pending.

The defense attorney in both dismissed DWI cases was Lee Hatch, and the prosecutor in one was Cyndi Jaeger. They are among six people who have been charged in a Johnston County ticket-fixing case.

According to indictments, 70 dismissal forms with Jaeger's signature were filed after she left her job in September 2007. The dismissal forms were filed for clients of Hatch and three other defense attorneys. A former deputy court clerk is accused of deleting the attorneys' names from at least two cases from the courthouse computer system.

Most of the dismissals cited in the indictments were DWI cases.

The two dismissed cases against Hernandez weren't part of the criminal investigation. Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle said the charges were legitimately dropped when officers didn't show up in court to testify.


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  • purplepat777 May 28, 2009

    Lee Hatch and Cyndi Jaeger need to be sued for wrongful death, heavily fined, and then jailed. The child would still be alive if not for the role they played in allowing this drunkard to kill him.

  • jbco May 26, 2009


    Anyone who would dimiss a DWI the one time an officer was not in court is not doing their job. They should fight to get the officer there and argue for a continuance. If it is not granted by a judge, however, there is nothing else a prosecutor can do.

    The bad behavior of ADAs and defense attorneys in Johnston and other counties in the state is horrible. They should be held accountable. If I remember the news correctly, it is the current DA down there who called in the SBI and they now have what many other counties in NC (including my own) have implemented, a DWI Court. Seems like things are looking up under this new DA.

  • Historian-the naked gardener May 22, 2009

    A life for a life would be much more appropriate.

  • Professor May 22, 2009

    Life in prison without parole.

  • Professor May 22, 2009

    Not enough time given. Life in prison without parole would have been a lot better. What if this was your child, judge?

  • Caring May 22, 2009

    He should of gotten the death penalty!

  • atozca May 22, 2009

    We have failed to protect our country by allowing our government to not secure the borders, looking the other way while our fellow American employs illegals, our elected government spends our tax money providing free food, housing, education and health care, and by giving credibility to activist groups who seem to think that criminals have equal rights with legal Americans. By the way we wanted to do the jobs we were doing (construction) by hey, we pay to operate a legal business, pay our taxes and employ American citizens who need to earn a legal living wage, we can't compete with the criminals...... wake up America. We need to become united once again.

  • bnice1984 May 22, 2009

    how does an illgeal immigrant who gets busted for a DWI not get deported? or how bout the 4th DWI?

  • my voice May 22, 2009

    Let's pretend he was a legal resident. Most legal residents that get dwi's, have their license taken away and usually do not drive until they get their license back. Most illegals do not have a valid driver's license anyway. So therefore hince the previous dwi's does not matter to this individual anyway. He would have driven regardless! Makes yu wonder if he even had a tiny bit of remorse.

  • Nancy May 22, 2009

    "They should just deport them after extensive identification, fingerprinting, photos, etc, and ban them from the country. We have plenty of domestic criminals to support."

    And with no effective border control (again, tied up in the hands of politicians looking to gain votes) we are forced to see the same ones return easily.