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Murder suspect appears in court
16-year-old arrested in death of Gainesville man
Daniel Vilchis-Ayala, 16, makes his first appearance in Hall County Magistrate Court on the charge of murder Friday afternoon.

An Athens teen made his first court appearance Friday after being charged in the bludgeoning death of a 68-year-old Gainesville man.

Daniel Vilchis-Ayala, 16, was brought to Hall County Magistrate Court, where Judge Margaret Gregory read him the arrest warrant for one count of murder. He was represented at the brief court hearing by attorneys with the Hall County Public Defender’s Office.

Vilchis-Ayala is charged with causing the death of Ramon Hernandez “by hitting him repeatedly about the head with a blunt object,” according to the arrest warrant.

Investigators believe the murder occurred sometime between Tuesday and Thursday, according to the
arrest warrant.

Authorities say Hernandez’ body was discovered Thursday morning by a co-worker who went to his trailer home in the East Ridge Mobile Home Park after Hernandez failed to show up for a job. Hernandez lived alone and worked maintenance and odd jobs at the mobile home park, located off Marlow Drive between Ga. 60 and U.S. 129 in unincorporated Hall County.

Hall County Sheriff’s Officials have not discussed a possible motive in the killing or what information led them to charge Vilchis-Ayala.

“The investigation is ongoing and active,” Col. Jeff Strickland said late Friday.

Strickland said an autopsy performed Friday concluded that Hernandez died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Vilchis-Ayala was arrested Thursday afternoon at his home in Athens, and a judge signed murder warrants later that night, Strickland said. According to court documents, Vilchis-Ayala lives in a Kathwood Road apartment in Athens.

At 16, Vilchis-Ayala is technically a juvenile, but was charged as an adult because the charge is murder.

He is being held at the Regional Youth Detention Center in Gainesville without bond.

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