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Judge issues arrest warrant for former San Fernando mayor

Former San Fernando Mayor Mario Hernandez

A judge has issued a bench arrest warrant for former San Fernando Mayor Mario Hernandez after he failed to appear at the trial of a former councilwoman who is accused of attacking him and vandalizing his home.

On Wednesday morning, a trial for Maribel De La Torre, 41, was delayed as authorities scrambled to find Hernandez, De La Torre's ex-lover and former council colleague, whom she is charged with battering during an argument at his home on June 28. (Both have since departed the council: Hernandez resigned and De La Torre was recalled last month.)

A judge in the case issued a bench warrant for Hernandez's arrest. If he does not appear, the case against De La Torre will have to be dismissed.

The two had been dating for months, a relationship they say began after Hernandez separated from his wife.

Hernandez told police that De La Torre came to his home on June 28 and slapped, punched and choked him. He also said she smashed a picture frame and slammed his laptop on the floor.

After the June incident, both De La Torre and Hernandez took out restraining orders against each other and accused the other of being the aggressor.

But in a turn of events, the two dropped their respective restraining orders and Hernandez asked prosecutors to drop the charges. Hernandez has repeatedly said that he would not testify against De La Torre.

The tempestuous relationship was first revealed by Hernandez in November 2011 when he announced at a City Council meeting that he and De la Torre were having an affair. He made the announcement while his wife was sitting in the front row at the council meeting. In the wake of the revelation, the pair — along with Mayor Brenda Esqueda — became the targets of a successful recall election.

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--Richard Winton

Photo: Former San Fernando Mayor Mario Hernandez in 2011. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

 
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