HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 10
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All Chapter 10 Footnotes

Garza was astonished that, from all these surfaces, Escobedo and Infante came away with usable fingerprints from only two—a beer can (one partial fingerprint) and the front door (three partial fingerprints in a clump and one partial palm print).168

Worse, the department's fingerprint examiner found that the prints lifted were all so fragmentary or damaged that he couldn't use them to make comparisons.169 Asked at the time about the quality of the prints Infante produced, the expert responded that they were "very bad."170 "[I]n effect," Prosecutor Schiwetz explained to the jury, "there are no fingerprints in the case."171

Infante didn't even try to look for prints on most of the promising surfaces. He limited his attention to the beer cans,172 front door, Winston pack (no luck),173 a portion of the Formica counter (same), the telephone receiver (no luck)174 and the knife (too greasy).175 That was it.176

Besides one five-dollar bill, nothing was confiscated at the scene for fingerprint analysis under lab conditions—not the bloody handle to the front door, the phone receiver, the cash drawer, the paper towels or calendar, the cigarette fragment or button, the comb, the flip-top counter, or the half-door latch and the half-door itself.177 Items like that, which, the killer almost certainly touched, "should have been taken off [the wall] and taken to the laboratory and tested further."178

Joel Infante, Corpus Christi Police Identification Technician, Field Investigation Report (Feb. 4, 1983) at 1 ("Sgt. Fowler asked me to process two Miller Lite beer cans which he found out the back of the gas station on the grass. He believed that maybe in some way th[ese] were handled by the person who committed the robbery. These were processed and some partial prints were obtained from one of the cans, and th[ese were] turned in to latent print examiner. Sgt. Escobedo requested the inside of the glass door be processed and some latents were obtained and turned in.");

Joel Infante, Corpus Christi Police Identification Technician, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 21, 1983) at 192–203 (noting that he lifted only a single partial fingerprint from one beer can, State's Exhibit 28, and a group of three fingerprints (State's Exhibit 27) and a palm print (State's Exhibit 28) from the front door), but was unable to retrieve any prints from the Winston pack, telephone receiver or knife: "Q. Did you try to lift any print off the knife? A. Yes, sir, I did. Q. And were you able to lift any prints off the knife? A. None.");

see, e.g., Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:57:00–00:48:30 ("To me, if this [cash drawer] was processed properly, something could have been obtained from somewhere around the cash [drawer], some type of print.");

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 01:19:42, 01:21:54, 01:26:25, 01:35:40–01:36:02 ("There should have been proper tests run for swabs of things. The [soda] cases, cardboard cases themselves, could have been processed for latents, and that wasn't done."; "Blood tests should have been conducted on [the knife], there was other evidence on there that could have been obtained both by the knife itself, by just dusting it, is probably not going to bring a finger print. The hands of a perspiring person are going to leave some kind of palm print or something on it. But sometimes, you have to actually use a process they call 'superglue,' that will actually bring a latent to light if it is there. I don't care how much grease there is."; "[T]he [telephone] receiver itself should have been taken off that phone and taken to the laboratory and tested further [for fingerprints]"; "The counter was made of Formica, there would have been prints if . . . There should have been several prints from people that patronized the business itself. If none were lifted, then it was an improper way to try to lift latents from the counter itself.");

see also Ernest Dave Wilson, Corpus Christi Police Fingerprint Examiner, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 341 ("Q. What about a telephone? A. It [is a surface on which people] will leave good prints.").

Ernest Dave Wilson, Corpus Christi Police Fingerprint Examiner, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 338–39 ("Q. What are [sic] the quality of these particular fingerprints [from the glass door and beer can] that Officer Infante lifted. A. They're very bad quality. . . . Q. How about the others, what's the quality of them? A. They're very bad quality."; characterizing the fingerprint taken from the beer can as "very, very bad quality");

Steve Schiwetz, Prosecutor at Trial of Carlos DeLuna, Opening Statement, Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 18 ("Sergeant Ed Wilson of the Corpus Christi Police Department . . . will testify that he was unsuccessful in [using any of the fingerprints recovered from the scene by technician Infante for comparison purposes, so that] in effect there are no fingerprints in this case");

Steve Mills and Maurice Possley, 'I Didn't Do It But I Know Who Did,' Violent Felon Bragged That He was Real Killer, Last of Three Parts, Chi. Trib., June 27, 2006 at 1, available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-tx-1-story,0,653915.story ("Infante said he found three fingerprints inside the station—two on the front door and one on the telephone. But all were of such poor quality that they were worthless.");

Ernest Dave Wilson, Corpus Christi Police Fingerprint Examiner, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 338–39 ("Q. What are [sic] the quality of these particular fingerprints [from the glass door and beer can] that Officer Infante lifted. A. They're very bad quality. . . . Q. How about the others, what's the quality of them? A. They're very bad quality."; characterizing the fingerprint taken from the beer can as "very, very bad quality").

Steve Schiwetz, Prosecutor at Trial of Carlos DeLuna, Opening Statement, Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 18 ("Sergeant Ed Wilson of the Corpus Christi Police Department . . . will testify that he was unsuccessful in [using any of the fingerprints recovered from the scene by technician Infante for comparison purposes, so that] in effect there are no fingerprints in this case");

see Steve Schiwetz, Prosecutor at Trial of Carlos DeLuna, Oral Arg. on Pretrial Mot. for a Continuance, Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 15, 1983) at 24 (statement of prosecutor Schiwetz to judge: "The upshot is that there aren't any fingerprints [in the case].").

Bruno Mejia, Corpus Christi Police Dep't, Officer, Supplementary Report (Feb. 4, 1983) at 6 ("Sgt. Fowler and myself then found two empty cans of . . . Lite beer at the side/rear portion of the store on the grass. We then had the I.D. Unit #503, Infante, photograph the cans and process for prints.");

Joel Infante, Corpus Christi Police Identification Technician, Field Investigation Report (Feb. 4, 1983) at 1 ("The counter top was also processed at the register [sic—the store had no cash register on the counter or elsewhere, see sources cited supra note 140; evidently, this refers to the adding machine on the counter].");

Joel Infante, Corpus Christi Police Identification Technician, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 21, 1983) at 192–93, 202:

Q. Now, when you went out there to that particular location, can you tell the Jury what areas you dusted with the black powder to try and find fingerprints? . . .

A. One area in particular is the door right here, the front door, I processed the inside area. . . . I also processed the top counter on this, the top Formica counter, the telephone that was found behind, the telephone receiver and a pack of cigarettes and also some beer cans found, but not here, they were found outside. . . . When I arrived there [at Sigmor Station], an officer advised me that he wanted some fingerprints dusted for—I mean some—I'm sorry, some beer cans dusted for fingerprints. I did and I picked up some prints and put them on the card.

Ernest Wilson, Corpus Christi Police Dep't Latent Fingerprints Expert, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 338–39 ("Q. There's [a fingerprint] that says it's lifted off a beer can. What's its quality? A. It's very, very bad quality in the fact that there are—there are—it's an impression over another impression on that particular latent. . . . [All the fingerprints from the beer cans are] very bad quality.").

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983) ("A package of Winston Brand cigarettes, found laying on the counter next to the calculator [at the check out counter. Retrieved 9:30 p.m. Evidence tag # 40151.]");

Joel Infante, Corpus Christi Police Identification Technician, Field Investigation Report (Feb. 4, 1983) at 1 ("[A] pack of Winstons cigarettes [was] processed for latent prints. No prints were obtained because simply there were none.");

Steve Mills & Maurice Possley, 'I Didn't Do It But I Know Who Did,' Violent Felon Bragged That He was Real Killer, Last of Three Parts, Chi. Trib., June 27, 2006 at 1, available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-tx-1-story,0,653915.story ("[Infante] was unable to get fingerprints from the knife found on the floor or from the pack of cigarettes on the counter."). Cf Ernest Dave Wilson, Corpus Christi Police Fingerprint Examiner, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 341 (testifying that a package of cigarettes has a surface on which one is likely to find fingerprints.).

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983) ("The telephone was cradled properly and was heard to be ringing a few minutes after we entered the premises. It was also processed for prints, as Dispatcher Escochea had stated that he had been talking to the victim and that he heard the struggle and then the phone had been dropped. No prints were found on the phone.");

Joel Infante, Corpus Christi Police Identification Technician, Field Investigation Report (Feb. 4, 1983) at 1 ("No other prints found.");

Joel Infante, Corpus Christi Police Identification Technician, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 21, 1983) at 195:

Q. Okay. Were you able to lift any prints of that telephone?

A. No, sir unfortunately I was not.

Q. Now, telephones are something that people use all the time, are they not?

A. That's true.

Q. You use a telephone, you've got to pick it up, don't you?

A. Right.

Q. How is it that somebody can pick up a telephone, presumably with their hand, and not leave a fingerprint on it?

A. Well, the question is maybe the person didn't leave a fingerprint there, I just didn't find one because it was no prints there.

Q. Is it—is it possible that sometimes you could pick up a fingerprint and other times you're not going to?

A. Yes, sir, that's possible.

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983) ("This knife was also processed for prints by Sgt. Infante, however with negative results. . . . It should also be noted that the knife did have some type of substance on it, it appeared to be some type of body tissue substance, it resembled some type of fatty type substance, it was clear in color and appeared to have conge[a]led in areas.");

Joel Infante, Corpus Christi Police Identification Technician, Field Investigation Report (Feb. 4, 1983) at 1 ("[A] knife [was] processed for latent prints. No prints were obtained because simply there were none.");

Joel Infante, Corpus Christi Police Identification Technician, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 21, 1983) at 203–05 ("Q. Did you try and lift any prints off the knife? A. Yes, sir I did. Q. And were you able to lift any prints off the knife? A. None."; claiming he could not obtain any fingerprints from the knife because "[t]he—the blade of the knife was—was very wet, it had some kind of substance on it, blood and some kind of pulp or something that came out from . . . I processed the rest of it starting from here back (indicating) and I just couldn't find any fingerprints on it.");

Steve Mills and Maurice Possley, 'I Didn't Do It But I Know Who Did,' Violent Felon Bragged That He was Real Killer, Last of Three Parts, Chi. Trib., June 27, 2006 at 4, available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-tx-1-story,0,653915.story ("[Infante] was unable to get fingerprints from the knife found on the floor or from the pack of cigarettes on the counter.").

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983) (reporting that Infante tested the door, a package of cigarettes, and the knife for prints);

Joel Infante, Corpus Christi Police Identification Technician, Field Investigation Report (Feb. 4, 1983) at 1 ("Sgt. Fowler asked me to process two . . . Lite beer cans which he found out the back of the gas station on the grass. . . . Sgt. Escobedo requested the inside of the glass door be processed . . . . The items mentioned, a knife and pack of Winstons cigarettes . . . were processed for latent prints. . . . The counter top was also processed at the case register.");

Ernest Dave Wilson, Corpus Christi Police Fingerprint Examiner, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 341 ("If [a counter is] good, smooth plastic it will leave good latents; Formica, it depends on how much wear and tear it has had being a counter as to how much it will have.").

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983) (listing the Winston pack, knife, beer cans, $5 bill, button and cigarette fragment as the only items she bagged and confiscated and omitting all but the $5 bill from the list of evidence sent to the lab for processing);

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Texas Dep't of Public Safety Laboratory Physical Evidence Submission Form (Feb. 9, 1983) at 1 (submitting only the $5 bill, a pair of black pants, a pair of white shoes, and a long sleeve shirt for testing);

Letter from James F. Waller, Jr., Supervisor, Chemistry Laboratory, to Sergeant Olivia Escobedo at 1 (Feb. 17, 1983) (listing the evidence the state forensic lab received for processing for blood, hair, fingerprints, etc., which omits all items confiscated by Escobedo or Infante other than a $5 bill).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 01:26:13–01:26:25 ("[T]he [telephone] receiver itself should have been taken off that phone and taken to the laboratory and tested further.");

see also Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983) ("The telephone was cradled properly and was heard to be ringing a few minutes after we entered the premises. It was also processed for prints, as Dispatcher Escochea had stated that he had been talking to the victim and that he heard the struggle and then the phone had been dropped. No prints were found on the phone.").

Chapter 10
Page: 9 of 14