After a week of trial testimony, the jury convicted Diego T. Hernandez of Laurel today (3/22) for the murder of Lori Bray. Hernandez, 24, was found guilty of deliberate homicide. The murder occurred in the early morning hours of October 1, 2019 when Bray gave Hernandez a ride home after closing her shift at a local casino.

According to KTVQ, prosecutors presented cell phone data, footprints from the crime scene, scratch marks on the defendant and blood stained clothing samples among the testimony. Hernandez had stated in an interview that he last saw Bray leaving his house after she drove him there from the casino, claiming she left after they had sex and smoked a cigarette.

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I live less than a mile from where they found Lori Bray's body. This type of crime is horrible wherever it occurs, but when it happens in a small town it really shakes up the community. Before Hernandez was arrested, residents were quite concerned. Women who worked in other bars and casinos were (smartly) choosing not to walk alone to their cars at night after getting off shift or closing. My kids were freaked out about "some crazy killer running around." With todays conviction for her brutal death, Laurel residents and friends and family of Lori Bray can hopefully find some peace.

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