The demise of celebrities often brings with it a wave of speculation and intrusive scrutiny and such was the case when celebrity stylist Mauricio Leal and his mother Marleny Hernández were discovered dead in their residence. At first glance, it appeared to be a case of a murder-suicide committed by Mauricio. However, as law enforcement delved deeper into the investigation, it became evident that a third party was involved. Netflix’s ‘Crime Diaries: The Celebrity Stylist’ invites viewers to delve into the web of events, offering a comprehensive exploration of the circumstances surrounding the untimely deaths and challenging initial assumptions, making it an engaging narrative for those seeking to comprehend the true story behind the headlines.
How Did Mauricio Leal and Marleny Hernández Die?
Mauricio Leal, a renowned hair stylist, had achieved the pinnacle of success in his career, working closely with prominent Colombian models and TV personalities. His journey began from humble origins, initially establishing a salon in Cali before venturing into the international realm of hairdressing in Miami. However, it was in Bogotá that he truly ascended to acclaim. Mauricio not only built a thriving career in the bustling city but also created a life filled with luxury and accomplishment. His close bond with his mother Marleny Hernández, who resided with him, was evident in their shared experiences, and they inhabited a spacious and elegant home in La Calera.
On November 22, 2021, Mauricio notified his employees that he would be taking the day off. Around 2:40 p.m. that day, Mauricio’s brother, Jhonier Leal, arrived at the house accompanied by their driver, Jair Ruiz. Encountering closed doors, Ruiz noticed an open window and, together with Jhonier, gained access to the residence. It was then that they discovered Mauricio, aged 47, and his mother, Marleny, lying lifeless in their residence, side by side in the same bed. They also found a blood-stained note beside Mauricio, hinting at the possibility that he had taken his mother’s life before turning the violence upon himself. The absence of signs indicating forced entry or a robbery led the police to rule out the involvement of foul play.
The investigation took a turn when the autopsy results revealed that Mauricio’s body bore multiple stab wounds. The result showed that both of them were killed approximately 30 hours before their bodies were discovered. It also came to light that Mauricio, being right-handed, had wounds consistent with an attack from a left-handed assailant. The incongruence between Mauricio’s dominant hand and the nature of the wounds strongly suggested that the crime was perpetrated by an external party rather than being a result of Mauricio’s actions. The absence of signs of forced entry further fueled suspicions, leading the police to pivot the investigation towards a homicide by someone who was known to the family.
Mauricio Leal and Marleny Hernández’s Killer
The focus of the police investigation swiftly shifted towards Mauricio’s brother and Marleny’s son, Jhonier Leal, as suspicions arose due to his unusual use of family funds, prompting the belief that he might be involved in the events. However, when questioned, Jhonier presented a solid alibi, redirecting attention towards Jair Ruiz, who had been the one to discover the lifeless bodies. When the police examined security camera footage, they discovered that Jhonier had provided false information and he was seen entering the house a few hours before the murders had taken place.
With a search warrant in hand, the police meticulously combed through Mauricio’s house, uncovering alleged incriminating evidence in the form of a blood-stained towel. The discovery of this crucial material led law enforcement to believe they had substantial proof against Jhonier, ultimately resulting in his indictment. The investigation alleged that Jhonier, who had recently started living with Mauricio just a few months before the incident, had perpetrated the heinous crimes. The police contended that Jhonier murdered his mother, and then coerced his brother into crafting a suicide note before ultimately killing him as well. The authorities pointed to computer evidence, asserting that Jhonier had been researching the assets and inheritance that would be left to him upon Mauricio’s demise and that he had a motive to kill his family.
The legal saga ensued when, initially denying any involvement in the murders upon his arrest, Jhonier later experienced a sudden change of heart. Just a few hours after being taken into custody, he unexpectedly pleaded guilty, expressing remorse and seeking forgiveness for his actions. However, this admission of guilt proved short-lived, as he swiftly retracted his statements, vehemently proclaiming his innocence once again. He asserted that he had been coerced into confessing by the prosecutor’s office and claimed that his defense team had provided inadequate advice.
As of today, Jhonier has yet to face trial, and the scheduled trial dates have been postponed four times, contributing to a prolonged and protracted legal process. The delays in proceedings have been exacerbated by changes in Jhonier’s defense team, citing health concerns or personal issues. The continuous shifts in legal representation have further complicated the timeline for the trial. Meanwhile, another investigation into Maurcio’s involvement with drug trafficking is also being run. The police claim that there was a large sum of money flowing into his accounts, something he could not have made from his profession alone. They suspect that he was working for La Gran Alianza, a network of several drug traffickers, in Cali. All of Maurcio’s assets are under police control and will remain so until the case has been settled.