MOUNT VERNON — The man convicted of killing and beheading his girlfriend at their Mount Vernon home in August 2018 was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years, four months in prison.

In a bench trial Oct. 15, Skagit County Superior Court Judge David Svaren found Timothy Paul Hernandez, 33, guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Vanessa Cons.

The couple and their two children were living at Hernandez’s parents’ home in Mount Vernon when Hernandez stabbed Cons more than two dozen times, then beheaded her.

Prosecutors believe the younger of the couple’s two children was in the room at the time of the killing. The older one found her mother’s body.

At Hernandez’s sentencing, Svaren called the killing one of the “most heinous” murder cases over which he has presided. The sentence was the longest Svaren could give.

“I don’t believe I’ve ever read a report or autopsy that reflected a greater sense of rage,” Svaren said. “I know that I have never read or heard of a case where minor children were invited to look at their mother’s dead body ... or their mother’s dead body was left for them to discover.”

Cons’ two brothers and mother were in attendance as Svaren sentenced Hernandez, with Cons’ older brother, Jorge Ahumada, addressing the court.

Ahumanda said his sister was a “loving soul” whose laugh “would echo throughout the house.” She was known for sending encouraging texts and gifts — often food — to cheer up friends and family, he said.

“My sister did not deserve to be executed,” Ahumada said.

He said his sister knew she was in a toxic relationship with Hernandez, but that she chose to stay because she didn’t want to take her children away from their father.

“Timothy has brought shame to his family yet again,” Ahumada said.

Also Wednesday, Svaren signed a court order forbidding Hernandez to communicate with either of the two children until they turn 18.

Custody of the children was awarded this week to Cons’ family, with Ahumada saying he would now step into the role of father figure.

“If anything positive came out of this, it’s that this coward will not raise and ruin my kids,” Ahumada said.

Upon his release, Hernandez will serve three years of community custody.

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141,, Twitter: @Kera_SVH,

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