When it comes to tragic stories, few are as heartbreaking as the one of Shazer Fernando Limas and his family. On Friday, the 42-year-old man was sentenced to three consecutive life terms in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of his girlfriend and their two young sons in Orange, California in 2012.
The victims were 31-year-old Arlet Hernandez-Contreras and the couple’s sons, 16-month-old Fernando Hernandez-Limas and 3-month-old Emanuel Hernandez-Limas. According to Senior Deputy District Attorney Mena Guirguis, Limas had an “on-again, off-again” relationship with Hernandez-Contreras and the victims had been living with Limas in his two-bedroom apartment in Orange from time to time.
The couple had a conflict on April 12, 2012, when Hernandez-Contreras called Lima’s mother and police. She wanted to retrieve her belongings from Limas’ apartment, but he was blocking her from doing so. That was the last time anyone saw the victims alive.
The next day, Limas called his girlfriend saying he had cut his hand in a fight at a restaurant and he needed her help. After he was treated for his wounds, Limas went about his life as normal. He hired a friend to mop up blood in his apartment and was seen tossing children’s clothing, a high-chair and stroller in the trash.
On April 24, 2012, he rented a U-Haul truck and gave away furniture. He went to The Home Depot to buy a tarp and a “very large chest,” which he used to put Hernandez-Contreras’ body in and dumped it in an “industrial area” of La Puente.
The victim’s body was badly decomposed when it was found and the identity was determined through fingerprint records. Limas’ mother had tried calling her daughter that day, but there was no response. The victim’s mother also tried unsuccessfully to contact her daughter through text messages, but then Hernandez-Contreras’ mother began receiving “weird texts” from her daughter, which were actually sent by Limas.
Limas’ attorney, Michael Hill, stated that while the defendant did indeed kill Hernandez-Contreras, he “did not kill his children or harm them in any way.” Hill implied that Hernandez-Contreras killed her sons.
Ultimately, the jury found Limas guilty of three counts of murder with special circumstance allegations of committing more than one murder. He was sentenced to three consecutive life terms in prison without the possibility of parole. The bodies of the children were never found.