Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Former Cop in Irvin Case Gets 6 Years

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Former Cop in Irvin Case Gets 6 Years

Article excerpt

Another chapter in the sordid scandal surrounding Michael Irvin ended Friday with a former Dallas policeman's admission that he plotted to have the Cowboys star killed.

Johnnie Hernandez, 28, received a six-year prison term in exchange for his guilty plea. He later apologized and accepted responsibility for the actions that forced his resignation from "the job I always wanted, being a police officer."

But prosecutors portrayed him as a "dirty cop" who protected purported drug dealers and concocted the murder-for-hire plot so his activities wouldn't come to light during the football player's drug trial.

"That's the bottom line," assistant district attorney Toby Shook. "Johnnie Hernandez is a dirty cop. He's a bad cop, and he's going to prison, where dirty cops deserve to go."

At the time of his arrest June 27, Hernandez said Irvin had threatened to harm his girlfriend, topless dancer Rachelle Smith, if she testified against Irvin before a grand jury.

Shook said Friday that Hernandez was not motivated by his desire to protect Smith, but by the fear that his name would be injected into Irvin's trial as a police officer with unsavory associates. If his reputation was sullied in the trial, Shook said, Hernandez would have found it harder to resign his commission honorably.

Under terms of the plea agreement, Hernandez was sentenced to two six-year prison terms, which run concurrently, and two $1,000 fines.

Cowboys: Dallas tight end Jay Novacek, Troy Aikman's favorite target in short-yardage situations, is not recovering from back problems and could miss the entire season.

Trainer Jim Maurer said Novacek, 33, suffers from a degenerative disk in his lower back on which he had surgery in 1988.

Friday's Games:

Packers 24, Patriots 7: Brett Favre got in his work and headed to the sideline. His backup, Doug Pederson, came in and led host Green Bay past New England. …

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