Trial date set in child sexual abuse case

May 10—CATLETTSBURG — An attorney for an Ashland man accused of having forceable intercourse with a child under 12 moved for a speedy trial on Friday in Boyd County Circuit Court.

Gabaniel Hernandez, 41, was arrested in October 2023 after a Boyd County grand jury moved to formally charge Hernandez with two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sexual assault against a child under 12.

Per court records, Hernandez stands accused of forcibly raping and having sexual contact with a child beginning in June 2022.

Last month, Hernandez was issued a second indictment charging him with two additional counts of first-degree sexual abuse, including one against a child under 12 between April 2022 and February 2023.

Due to the sensitive nature of the case, it is unclear if the second case involves an additional victim.

On Friday, defense attorney Michael Curtis entered an official appearance on behalf of Hernandez and announced he had filed a motion for a speedy trial.

The motion for a speedy trial is usually beneficial to the defense as it puts the court and prosecutors on a timer to bring the case before a jury within 180 days from the day the motion is granted.

Curtis acknowledged the court's busy trial schedule, adding if the proposed date "goes over time limit," Curtis would need further discussions with Hernandez.

Curtis and Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Gary Conn anticipate the trial will require three days.

Since Hernandez is charged under two separate cases, Boyd County Circuit Judge George Davis asked Curtis which case he'd like to take up first.

"I'll let you pick which one," Curtis cracked, indicating the two cases would not be tried at the same time.

Judge Davis scheduled a jury to convene on Nov. 18.

Hernandez will appear for a pre-trial conference on Sept. 13.

Online jail records indicate Hernandez is held on a $250,000 cash bond.

The two counts of first-degree rape are the most serious of Hernandez's felony charges. He could be sentenced to decades in prison, if convicted.

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