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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Argument with his wife about ownership of the home and restaurant
Number of victims: 2
Date of murder: January 3, 1999
Date of birth: January 15, 1963
Victims profile: Isela Gonzalez and Donna Berezovsky, 11 (stepdaughters)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Hillsborough County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on May 28, 2002

Florida Supreme Court


opinion 02-1617


DC#  T28329
DOB:  01/15/63

Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, Hillsborough County Case # 99-117
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Daniel Perry
Attorney, Trial: Pro Se, Daniel Hernandez & Charles Traina – APD & Court-Appointed
Attorney, Direct Appeal: John Fisher – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Mark Gruber – CCRC-M

Date of Offense: 01/03/99

Date of Sentence: 05/28/02

Circumstances of Offense:

Pedro Hernandez-Alberto and Maria Gonzalez were married and had one child together. 

Maria Gonzalez had an adult son, Salvatore Gonzalez, an adult daughter, Isela Gonzalez, and a minor 11-year-old daughter, Donna Berezovsky, from other relationships. 

Maria’s children lived with her and Hernandez-Alberto during their marriage.  Maria owned and operated a family business called the Apollo Beach Family Restaurant.

On the morning of 01/03/99, Hernandez-Alberto and Maria continued an ongoing argument about ownership of the home and restaurant. 

Hernandez-Alberto insisted that his name be placed on the title to the home and restaurant, which Maria owned before their marriage.  Maria left the home to go to work at the restaurant. 

After Maria’s departure, Hernandez-Alberto confronted Donna in the family room.  When she refused to pick up a toy, he struck her on the head, knocking her to the floor.  As she lay face down on the floor, he removed a gun from his fanny pack and shot her in the back, killing her. 

After shooting Donna, Hernandez-Alberto drove to the restaurant where Maria and Isela were working.  He confronted Isela in the kitchen and shot her three times – once in the lower back, once in the upper back, and once in the neck.

After shooting Isela, Hernandez-Alberto fled toward Mexico, but was arrested in Brookshire, Texas.  He was interviewed by the Brookshire police chief and confessed to shooting and killing both Donna and Isela. 

Additional Information:

During trial, the competency of Hernandez-Alberto was in question.  At a competency hearing on 05/18/99, the trial court found him incompetent to proceed.  At three subsequent competency hearings, however, held on 11/09/99, 08/20/01, and 11/19/01, the trial court found him competent to proceed. 

Trial Summary:

01/13/99          Indicted as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder (Donna Berezovsky)

Count II:          First-Degree Murder (Isela Gonzalez)

08/24/01          Jury returned guilty verdicts on both counts of the indictment

11/29/01          Jury recommended death by a vote of 10-2

05/28/02          Sentenced as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder (Donna Berezovsky) – Death

Count II:          First-Degree Murder (Isela Gonzalez) – Death

Case Information:

On 07/23/02, Hernandez-Alberto filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court, citing the following trial court errors: finding of competence to proceed; allowing pro se representation; denying a motion for continuance; denying a motion for a PET scan; finding evidence of premeditation; proportionality of the death penalty in this case; and unconstitutionality of Florida’s death penalty statute. 

On 09/23/04, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the convictions and sentences.

On 03/10/06, Hernandez-Alberto filed a 3.851 Motion with the Circuit Court and amended the motion on 03/16/06.  The motion is pending.



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