Hermiston murder suspect stays in jail

EO staff photo by Phil Wright Murder suspect Maurillo Lamas Sanchez of Hermiston listens to a court interpretor Friday while his attorney, Doug Fischer, questions the stateÕs witness during a release hearing in state court in Pendleton.

Murder suspect Maurillo Sanchez of Hermiston smashed a wine bottle over his wife’s head, stabbed her in the chest and used a bandana to crush her throat, a police detective testified Friday.

The state has charged Sanchez, 45, with one count of murder in the death of his wife, 41-year-old Hilaria Sanchez. Hermiston police arrested Maurillo Sanchez on Oct. 27, after responding to a 9-1-1 call about a dispute at the couple’s mobile home in Village Park Hermiston, 1215 S.W. 11th St. Maurillo Sanchez has been in the Umatilla County Jail in Pendleton since his arrest.

During a hearing Friday to consider releasing Maurillo Sanchez from jail, Detective Billy Osborne presented evidence that Circuit Court judge Christopher Brauer considered sufficient and strong enough to keep the suspect behind bars.

Osborne said he is the lead officer on the case. He said Maurillo Sanchez, through an interpretor, told him and other officers about how his wife died.

“We just asked him to walk us through it,” Osborne said. “He was very cooperative with it.”

So much so, Osborne said he found Sanchez’s honesty surprising.

Reiterating what Sanchez told police, Osborne said the couple had been married about 20 years. In June they and their seven children moved from Mexico to Oregon, and that was when relationship problems started.

Maurillo Sanchez wanted sex every day, the detective said, but Hilaria Sanchez didn’t. The morning of Oct. 29, the couple had sex, though Hilaria Sanchez didn’t want to.

Later that day, Maurillo Sanchez said he tried to kiss is wife, but she pulled away. That angered the man, Osborne said, and Maurillo Sanchez grabbed a wine bottle and broke it across Hilaria Sanchez’s head.

The two fought, and Hilaria Sanchez grabbed a knife. In the struggle, she dropped it, Osborne reported, and Maurillo Sanchez picked it up.

Hilaria Sanchez then tried to ask forgiveness and promised she wouldn’t do this again, Osborne said. But Maurillo Sanchez told her it was too late, Osborne said.

Maurillo Sanchez then plunged the knife into his wife’s upper chest, Osborne said. She struggled, and Maurillo Sanchez grabbed her, took her to the floor and wrapped a bandana around her throat, choking her.

Osborne said an autopsy showed Maurillo Sanchez throttled his wife’s throat to the point he crushed bone. The state medical examiner found Hilaria Sanchez would have died from either the stab wound or the choking, Osborne said.

When police arrived, Sanchez was holding his almost-three-year-old child. They were just a few feet from Hilaria Sanchez’s body. Osborne said Maurillo Sanchez recalled his wife’s lifeless body had been there for about 45 minutes before the police arrived.

Brauer ruled the state had demonstrated sufficient and strong enough evidence to keep Sanchez in jail. But, the judge said, his ruling is not an indication of Sanchez’s guilt.

Sanchez, who required a court interpreter, said nothing and showed no reactions throughout the hearing.

As a sheriff’s deputy lead Sanchez out of the courthouse, Osborne commented the whole case was simply sad.

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