HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 12
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People who spent any time around the criminal courts in Corpus in the 1980s had no sympathy for the possibility that Botary, Escobedo, or any other experienced prosecutor or homicide detective would've had trouble identifying and quickly finding the Carlos Hernandez in question at the time.

Jesse Garza's lawyer Albert Peña pointed out that Botary knew Carlos Hernandez well from the Dahlia Sauceda murder three years earlier.20

Botary had interviewed Hernandez and let him off the hook by prosecuting Garza instead.21 Botary and Escobedo had then watched as Peña dismantled their case against Garza—and dismantled Hernandez himself on the witness stand, including by skillfully exploiting the man's pride in his facility with a buck knife.22

Unless you "[p]ut the blinders on," Peña said years later, "that's not a fellow that you're going to likely forget."23 Peña himself had heard rumors at the time "through police sources and through people at the courthouse, people in the know, that Carlos Hernandez was suspected of doing it"—the Wanda Lopez killing—"not this fellow [De]Luna."24

No one had to ask which Carlos Hernandez.

Hernandez's lawyer Jon Kelly agreed that "if the question had arisen in law enforcement circles in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1983, is there a Carlos Hernandez in this town who was capable of using a knife to hurt a woman, or at least ha[d] a reputation in that direction," it would take "two minutes"—in all seriousness, no more than a "half a day"—for any experienced Corpus detective to bring him in.25

"If someone said, 'knife' and 'Carlos Hernandez,' they'd know exactly what you were saying. If you were an active detective. If you were experienced in patrol in . . . the Mary Street area, you'd know who Carlos was. I mean, come on! They all knew."26

Famed homicide detective Eddie Garza was also emphatic about the notoriety of the Carlos Hernandez.27 "If somebody got up and testified that there was no Carlos Hernandez," he said, his voice rising, "there sure was, and I can testify to that because I arrested him several times."28

"Myself and my partners, we were well aware of Carlos Hernandez and what he was capable of doing," Garza said. "Most of the detectives in the criminal investigation division knew of Carlos Hernandez."29

Hernandez's reputation extended beyond cops to prosecutors, Kelly explained.30 "People in the D.A.'s office at that time knew who Carlos Hernandez was. Period."31

"I know those people personally. I consider them friends. But I can say that without much hesitation. Anybody with any period of time and service in the Nueces County District Attorney's office in that period of time, they knew who Carlos Hernandez was. Period."32 At the time, Schiwetz was new to the office, but Botary had been there for years.

* * * * *

Carlos DeLuna's sister Rose had a theory about why the authorities didn't bring Carlos Hernandez in when her brother gave up the name. "They hated my brother," she said. "I know they hated him."33 He'd been a cocky nuisance—a thorn in their side—for years.34

"This was their chance to get rid of my brother"—to hang him by the "rope" he handed law enforcement when he dove underneath that truck.35

* * * * *

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Albert Peña, Lawyer for Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 18:30:50 ("[Botary] prosecuted Jesse Garza, my client. And he knew Carlos Hernandez also testified in the case, and that's not a fellow that you're going to likely forget.");

see Transcribed Videotape Interview with Albert Peña, Lawyer for Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 18:29:24 ("No question about it. They [Botary and Hernandez] played chess together [in the Dahlia Sauceda case]. If, in 1983, somebody had asked Mr. Botary, or told Mr. Botary, that there was a claim Carlos Hernandez had committed this stabbing at the Shamrock station, what would he have known about a Carlos Hernandez? . . . He prosecuted Jesse Garza, my client. And he knew Carlos Hernandez also testified in the [Sauceda] case").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Albert Peña, Lawyer for Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 18:29:24 ("No question about it. They [Botary and Hernandez] played chess together [in the Dahlia Sauceda case].");

see Steve Mills & Maurice Possley, A Phantom or A Killer?, A Prosecutor Said Carlos Hernandez Didn't Exist. But He Did, and His MO Fit the Crime, Second of Three Parts,Chi. Trib., June 25, 2006, available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/services/newspaper/eedition/chi-tx-2-story,0,302882.htmlstory:

When another man [Jesse Garza] was charged with the [Sauceda] murder, his defense lawyer [Albert Peña] asserted that Hernandez was the real killer. Prosecutor Ken Botary—later the co-prosecutor in De Luna's trial—interviewed Hernandez in his office before the trial. Hernandez was brought to that tape-recorded interview by Detective Olivia Escobedo, who would be the lead investigator in Wanda Lopez's murder. At trial, Botary cross-examined Hernandez. The defendant [Jesse Garza] was acquitted.

See supra Chapter 7, notes 39–44, 199–203 and accompanying text.

See supra Chapter 7, notes 87–134 and accompanying text.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Albert Peña, Lawyer for Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 18:30:50 ("[Botary] prosecuted Jesse Garza, my client. And he knew Carlos Hernandez also testified in the case, and that's not a fellow that you're going to likely forget.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Albert Peña, Lawyer for Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 18:25:07 ("I heard that Carlos Hernandez had done it, and police were going through the city. (chokes up) Excuse me. Capital murder, there's no appeal. I'd heard that, through police sources and through people at the courthouse, people in the know, that Carlos Hernandez was suspected of doing it. Not this fellow [De]Luna. But again they took the attitude of putting the blinders on.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Jon Kelly, Lawyer for Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 9, 2004) at 06:35:00–06–06:39:36:

Q. [W]hat you had heard about Carlos Hernandez from [Detective] Paul Rivera?

A. Well, I had heard about the [Dahlia Sauceda] incident, obviously, which was the underlying case involving the van and the girl and all of that. That [Detective] Paul [Rivera] would occasionally, initially especially, would say, "This is a real bad guy. He's been involved in violence for years. He has just an uncontrollable temper, which goes off at times. He's a very dangerous man." And it would be followed up by other detectives. I was socially—my wife at the time was very friendly with the wife of a lieutenant in the police department, or a sergeant, I forget. And, so socially it would come up that I was Carlos Hernandez's lawyer, and it was always lead to comments and talk. In good nature, but always his violent past would come up. . . .

Q. In your interactions with other members of the police department, what did you hear about Carlos Hernandez?

A. As I said, initially, Paul [Rivera], when I first represented Carlos, Paul made it known to me that Carlos Hernandez was a bad guy. And I would ask around, and maybe one or two lawyers would say, "you know, he's involved in a case that I had and he's a bad dude." My wife at the time was very friendly and close to a detective and the detective's wife, and so socially we would go over to their house, oh, maybe every other week. And at Christmas time, etc. I remember going to Eddie Garza's at Christmas. And one of the ways, besides being the asshole, was that I was introduced as Carlos Hernandez's lawyer. And I was well known to the members of the police department. But usually the mention of Carlos Hernandez would allow other detectives to make comments. And . . . about Carlos and stuff. I blew it off, but I understood that they truly believed that they knew who Carlos was, that Carlos Hernandez was a dangerous man and that he was someone to reckon with. . . .

Q. [I]f the question had arisen in law enforcement circles in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1983, is there a Carlos Hernandez in this town who was capable of using a knife to hurt a woman, or at least ha[d] a reputation in that direction, if you would just describe what the likelihood is that attention would focus on the Carlos Hernandez that you knew.

A. . . . Carlos Hernandez was known. If someone said, "knife" and "Carlos Hernandez," they'd know exactly what you were saying. If you were an active detective. If you were experience[d] in patrol in, not so much on the west side, but more on the Mary Street area, you'd know who Carlos was. I mean, come on! They all knew.

Q. And that was true throughout the 1980s?

A. Oh sure.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Jon Kelly, Lawyer for Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 9, 2004) at 06:51:56 ("Q. When there was discussion about Carlos Hernandez, was there any sense of the typical gender of the victims of these crimes that he was reputed to have committed. A. . . . Yeah, usually they involved women, quite often.");

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Jon Kelly, Lawyer for Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 9, 2004) at 07:30:15–07:32:08:

[I]in the DeLuna case, did not the sheriff get a subpoena from the defense [sic, it was from the prosecutors] asking them to serve Carlos Hernandez? Well, that's criminal too, but that shows you that the kind of burden that a criminal attorney has. Your subpoenas, despite what is said, aren't worth the paper they're written on. They don't go and look for your guy. Carlos Hernandez, I guarantee you, if you went to [Detective] Paul [Rivera]. He's a man of integrity. Or Eddie [Garza] too. "How long would it take you to find Carlos?" They would have said, "Hernandez? Hancock Street. Two minutes?" Certainly within a half a day. No matter where he was.

Peso Chavez & James S. Liebman's Notes on Interviews with Jon Kelly, Lawyer for Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 16, 18, 20, 2004) at 6–7:

CH [Carlos Hernandez] was notorious. Well known. . . . When [Judge] Jack Blackmon asked me to [represent him], his court manager . . . said I should know who CH was. DA [District Attorney] said the same thing. They let me know at the time he was a real slime. I know they let me know that CH was a bad guy. Very notorious. . . . Carlos Hernandez was easy to find at the time. He was a know[n] quantity over on Hancock and Mary. They could find CH. Anyone in homicide w[ou]ld know who CH was. If you worked that area of town, they'd know. That's BS [that law enforcement couldn't find him]. There was no question he could've been found. . . . Re: who "CH" is: They knew it.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Jon Kelly, Lawyer for Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 9, 2004) at 06:38:02–06:39:36:

Q. [I]f the question had arisen in law enforcement circles in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1983, is there a Carlos Hernandez in this town who was capable of using a knife to hurt a woman, or at least ha[d] a reputation in that direction, if you would just describe what the likelihood is that attention would focus on the Carlos Hernandez that you knew.

A. . . . Carlos Hernandez was known. If someone said, "knife" and "Carlos Hernandez," they'd know exactly what you were saying. If you were an active detective. If you were experience[d] in patrol in, not so much on the west side, but more on the Mary Street area, you'd know who Carlos was. I mean, come on! They all knew.

Q. And that was true throughout the 1980s?

A. Oh sure.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:17:16–00:19:12:

Q. [I]f I was to tell you that, in the trial of Carlos DeLuna, a police office[r] testified that they had reviewed or looked at all Carlos Hernandez's regarding this incident, the homicide of Wanda Lopez, and in trial they said that they had reviewed and looked at all Carlos's, Carlos Hernandez's, and there was no Carlos Hernandez that they felt was connected to this case. Would that be surprising to you?

A. Well, I don't remember a police office[r] testifying in court to this case, but there was a Carlos Hernandez, and I knew Carlos Hernandez ever since he was a juvenile because I arrested him many times. And he lived around the Carrizo-Laredo Street area. And he was always involved in some type of crime, theft, in shoplifting, and several other assaults that he was involved in. He was always getting involved in fights within the area. So I knew there was a Carlos Hernandez. If somebody got up and testified that there was no Carlos Hernandez, there sure was, and I can testify to that because I arrested him several times.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:23:42–00:25:00:

Q. Was Carlos Hernandez familiar to most policemen in the police department?

A. Well, the policemen that actually were involved in investigating some of the crimes that he had committed, yes there were several officers that knew him. The patrol division knew who he was, knew his hangouts, and the people that he hung out with.

Q. Did the criminal investigation division, were they aware of Carlos Hernandez?

A. Myself and my partners, we were well aware of Carlos Hernandez and what he was capable of doing.

Q. In 1983, did the officers in the criminal investigation division know of, know who Carlos Hernandez was?

A. In regards to being a suspect in [the Wanda Lopez] crime, yes, we were aware that Carlos Hernandez might be a possible suspect.

Q. But it's safe to say that he was familiar to the C.I.D. division within the Corpus Christi police department. Is that correct?

A. Definitely. Most of the detectives in the criminal investigation division knew of Carlos Hernandez.

See also Transcribed Videotape Interview with Janie Adrian, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi (Dec. 5, 2004) at 08:00:00–08:00:46:

Q. [I]f people came around the neighborhood and said, ever heard of a person named Carlos Hernandez, what would people have said? . . .

A. Everybody knew Carlos Hernandez around there. . . . Everybody knew Carlos Hernandez around there, everybody. If you asked the dogs, the dogs would probably tell you. . . .

Q. But the police, did they ask [about Hernandez and the Wanda Lopez killing]? Nope, they never did.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:17:16–00:19:12.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:23:42–00:25:00.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Jon Kelly, Lawyer for Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 9, 2004) at 07:24:52–07:26:39:

Q. How would you react to the fact that during the course of preparation for trial, and at trial, Mr. DeLuna testified and he told his attorneys that he had seen a man named Carlos Hernandez there at the scene, struggling with the victim, and committing that crime, and the prosecutor gave an argument to the jury and also spoke to the press saying that Carlos Hernandez is a phantom. . . . .

A. People in the D.A.'s office at that time knew who Carlos Hernandez was. Period. [pause] I know those people personally. I consider them friends. But I can say that without much hesitation. Anybody with any period of time and services in the Nueces County District Attorney's office in that period of time, they knew who Carlos Hernandez was. Period. [pause] So, you take that for what it says, what it means.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Jon Kelly, Lawyer for Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 9, 2004) at 07:24:52–07:26:39 (quoted supra note 30).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Jon Kelly, Lawyer for Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 9, 2004) (quoted supra note 30).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:34:40–20:35:50:

Q. When Carlos said, as he did from the beginning, that he didn't do it, somebody else did it, and then the name Carlos Hernandez was given to his lawyers, to the district attorney, to the police, the press, why do you think that the authorities didn't go look for Carlos Hernandez?

A. Because they hated my brother, they hated Carlos. I know they hated him. They hated him. And they knew that my mom was sick, they knew that she died. They didn't care. This was a chance to get rid of my brother.

See Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:35:03–20:35:50 ("You have to understand, going back from the early ages when my brother was going in and out of jail constantly. My mom was always bailing him out. He would always say, 'I'll be out of here in an hour, you watch.' Because I would go with my mom to bail him out. He would just go out laughing, 'I told you I'd be out.'");

supra Chapter 5, notes 193–198 and accompanying text.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 19:59:44–20:02:58 ("And I believe that Carlos pissed off a lot of people in Corpus. He just, burned a lot of bridges. I believe strongly that a lot of those officers would say, 'give him enough rope and one of these days he's going to hang himself.' That's what I believe.");

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:34:40–20:35:50 ("This was their chance to get rid of my brother . . . .");

see supra Chapter 5, notes 197–198 and accompanying text.

Chapter 12
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