(Kidnapper and murder of Cindy Hernandez, a prospective Citrus student who went missing in 1976, has been sentenced)
In the midst of a drought, the first rain of the season fell the morning of Oct. 17. The water took a slimy texture as it washed away the oils and detritus off the city streets at the San Bernardino County Criminal courts.
Forty years ago, an 18-year old Cindy Hernandez went out to see a horror movie. She was never seen alive by her family again. Now, on Oct. 17, her kidnapper and killer was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to the murder charge.
Larry James Allred stood in green correctional scrubs as Cindy’s family members watched and gave statements to the court about their loss.
Deputy District Attorney Denise Yoakum prosecuted the case and read written statements by Hernandez’s aunt and sister after requesting the maximum possible sentence for Cindy’s killer.
“I brought her picture so you’d know she’s not just a court case,” said her mother, Gloria Densham to the court.
“Her life was taken violently and senselessly,” Densham said. “No mother should have to bury her daughter after only 18 years of life, it’s against the laws of nature and man.”
Cindy Hernandez was accepted to Citrus College’s concert choir and was set to enroll in Citrus the fall semester of 1976. One of her goals was to be part of Ben Bollinger’s Citrus Singers program, which she was set to audition for.
“She was going to join the choir,” her mother said after Allred’s sentencing. “She was a great alto. She could sing, dance. She was half-Mexican and half-Irish, don’t you think she loved music?”
Cindy’s parents now live in San Juan Capistrano, but still remain linked to Glendora.
Gloria Densham is an alumna of Citrus College, and earned a degree in electronics.
“We kept the house in Glendora as a candle in the window, in case she ever returned,” said Cindy’s stepfather, Tom Densham.
While the court’s decision will not bring back Cindy, their family felt something like closure and justice after the sentencing. Allred was given a chance before sentencing to reply to the court and Cindy’s family.
“I’m sorry. Um,” Allred said. “I was a monster at the time.”
Allred was already in prison in Chino for counterfeiting Disney merchandise at the time he was linked to Hernandez’s murder. He had also served time for a separate rape conviction in 1975, and had been in a mental institution.
“I wish I had been committed earlier,” Allred said.
The court report said Allred admitted to three or four others victims that he was not caught for.
“It shames me, ma’am,” said Judge Richard Peel, “that I am going to impose a life sentence on him, but make him eligible for parole in seven years.” Under the laws of 1976, the maximum sentence allowable for this crime was seven years to life, allowing for the possibility of parole after seven years.
“I’ll be here in seven years,” Densham said.