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Former Marine from NC accused of killing wife is shot while beating trans woman, PA cops say

Police line tape (Dreamstime/TNS)

A man accused of killing his wife was shot to death while beating a transgender woman in Pennsylvania, officials said.

Juan Carter Hernandez, a 33-year-old former Marine, died almost two years after he was released from a North Carolina prison, according to police records and media reports.

Hernandez was behind a Pennsylvania home on Thursday when a New Wilmington officer saw him using a blunt object to strike a transgender woman, officials said in a Twitter post. After the officer told Hernandez to stop the assault, he is accused of continuing to beat the woman.

That’s when Pennsylvania State Police said the officer fired a weapon at Hernandez, striking him. Hernandez died at the scene in New Wilmington, near the Ohio border and roughly 60 miles north of Pittsburgh.

The woman, who officials identified as 24-year-old Chynaa Cardena of Springdale, Arkansas, was rushed to a hospital and later died.

“Investigators have determined that Cardena and Hernandez knew each other, and it does not appear that her killing was motivated by hate or bias,” officials said Tuesday in a news release.

The case is a homicide and remained under investigation as of Tuesday morning, according to Pennsylvania State Police. The name of the officer accused of shooting Hernandez wasn’t listed in the news release.

The incident happened almost a decade after North Carolina police said Hernandez killed his wife Kandace, WCTI reported. She was shot to death in Onslow County, in the southeastern part of the state and home to the Camp Lejeune military base, officials said.

“At the time of the shooting in Richlands, (Juan Hernandez) was wanted on a federal warrant for desertion from the United States Marine Corps,” The Daily News reported.

Hernandez pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2014 and was released from prison in 2019, according to news reports and state prison records.


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