HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 13
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All Chapter 13 Footnotes

Schiwetz said his "final witness" would be Wanda Lopez herself, on tape—"asking for help, telling about a man who was in the store with a knife." Pointing to Carlos DeLuna, he drew his remarks to a close. "You will hear her final words to this Defendant telling him, 'I'll give you what you want,' and then you will hear her screaming as he knifed her."34

* * * * *

The state's first witness was Wanda's father. He told the jury a little bit about his daughter and her job at the Sigmor and displayed a picture of Wanda with her own daughter in her lap.35 Then police dispatcher Jesse Escochea testified about the 911 call he answered. Schiwetz directed Escochea's attention to a call received at "8:09 p.m.," leaving no room for mention of any other call.36

The twenty-two-year-old Escochea said he took a call regarding a man with a knife from an unnamed female at 2602 SPID. She asked for assistance, he testified, and he quickly dispatched officers to the scene.37

Officers Fowler and Mejia described their arrival at the scene, where they found a man kneeling over Wanda Lopez.38 Fowler testified that her labored breathing and glassy eyes revealed a "Kussmaul" state from loss of blood through a wound on her left side.39

Spread throughout the prosecution's case was additional testimony—by an emergency medical technician,40 the nurse who was treating Wanda at the hospital when she died,41 and County Medical Examiner Rupp42—describing Wanda's wound and her awful suffering. In the same vein, Lieutenant Eddie McConley, the commanding officer at the scene who secured the store until Escobedo could get inside, described the "large amount of blood" he saw inside and outside the store, and on Wanda Lopez as she lay blocking the door while medics tried to revive her.43

Mejia told of gathering the witnesses, getting descriptions and broadcasting BOLOs.44 He described the weather that night as "clear, mild, warm." He didn't recall rain.45

Fowler noted that bystanders at the scene said they'd seen someone running from the area. Introducing a directional theme the prosecutors came back to throughout the trial, Fowler only mentioned witnesses talking about a suspect running "eastbound" along the service road towards the Phase III Club.46 (See the blue route in Figure 4, Chapter 2, page 10.) At one point Fowler said "westbound," but Schiwetz encouraged him to correct himself and refer again to an easterly direction.47

Defense lawyers Lawrence and De Peña didn't have the manhunt tape.48 They didn't know that Mejia's nine BOLOs and numerous sightings by cops chasing a man gave a different direction of flight: eastward just a few feet along the Sigmor sidewalk to the end of the building where the ice machine was, then north "behind" the store and west a half a block to Dodd Street.49 Further sightings tracked a man sprinting north on Dodd towards McArdle and right on McArdle towards Domino's and a Circle K at Kostoryz.50 (See the red route in Figure 2.)

DeLuna's lawyers also didn't know that the manhunt tape recorded Fowler himself describing an encounter earlier that evening with a mustachioed man wearing "a heavy T-shirt, almost a sweatshirt-type," who was lurking around the Circle K.51

The jury heard none of this.

* * * * *

Only Deputy Constable Ruben Rivera described the manhunt at all, and he focused on DeLuna's arrest.52 He and his partner, Carolyn Vargas, he said, responded to Esther Barrera's call notifying police of a man hiding under her pick-up truck on Easter Street.53 Rivera and Vargas set off on foot. Within minutes, they saw a group of bystanders on Franklin Street beside a different pickup truck yelling that someone was underneath.54

Steve Schiwetz, Prosecutor, Opening Statement, Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 20:

And the final witness I'm going to call will be the deceased, Wanda Lopez. Mrs. Lopez, who was 26 years old at the time she died, will be called through the means of a tape recording, a phone call that she made to the police department right before she died. On this tape you will hear her asking for help, telling about a man who was in the store with a knife. You will hear her trying to describe him as he stands there—stood there right in front of her and you will hear her final words to this Defendant telling him, "I'll give you what you want," and then you will hear her screaming as he knifed her."

Luis Vargas, Father of Wanda Lopez, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 22–24 (discussing his daughter's job at "[Sigmor] Shamrock Station located on SPID" and his "six year old" granddaughter; then discussing State's Exhibit Number One, a "photo of [Vargas's] daughter").

Jesse Escochea, Corpus Christi Police Dispatcher, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 27 ("Q. On [February 4th, 1983], directing your attention to approximately 8:09 p.m., do you recall getting a phone call regarding a man with a knife? A. Yes, sir. Q. And could you identify the sex of the person who was calling? A. It was a female. Q. And did she identify herself by name? A. No.").

Jesse Escochea, Corpus Christi Police Dispatcher, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 27–28 ("Q. Did [the female who called 911 at 8:09 p.m.] tell you where she was? A. Yes. Q. And where was that? A. At the Shamrock, 2602 South Padre Island Drive. . . . Q. Did she request police assistance? A. Yes, she did. Q. And did you dispatch some assistance to her? A. Yes, I did.").

Steven Fowler, Corpus Christi Police Officer, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 37–38 ("Q. And when you arrived [at the scene], what did you find? A. Pulled up in the parking lot, I observed a clerk lying on her side in front of the front door of the service station and a gentleman was standing there bent over.").

Steven Fowler, Corpus Christi Police Officer, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 37–38, 43–45:

Q. Now, did you try and tend to Wanda Lopez?

A. When I first got there I did, yes, sir.

Q. And was she still breathing then?

A. She was having—she was in a—a—her breathing was labored and her eyes were kind of glassy and—

Q. Have you ever had experience with dealing with people who are in that condition before?

A. Yes, I have.

Q. Okay, where was that?

A. In the hospital, when I worked in the hospital in the emergency room and I made several homicide cases since I have been on the scene, people in that condition.

Q. Is there any particular medical language which is used for a person that's in that condition?

A. I believe it's called Kussmaul is the type of breathing she was in. It's kind of rapid, shallow breathing. It's caused by the body trying to compensate for an acid—a blood acid base imbalance; and what's happening is they're either lost a lot of blood or they've lost enough body fluid to where their body is trying to catch up with the imbalance of the body fluid inside and they breath heavy trying to compensate for this.

Mark Wagner, City of Corpus Christi Paramedic, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 176–78 (testifying that "upon arrival, the . . . lady was still semi-conscious, [but] she wasn't responding by speaking or anything, she was just moaning slightly . . . [and] appeared to be in a condition of shock at that time" having "sustained an apparent stab wound to the left chest").

Dorothy Gomez, Memorial Medical Center Nurse, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 184–87 (describing unsuccessful efforts to save Lopez that lasted "quite a while, . . . a little over an hour" and included an incision "right below the original stab wound" for a "chest tube . . . that goes into the cavity between the chest wall and the lungs to release any fluid or . . . air . . . in between the cavity").

Joseph Rupp, Nueces County Medical Examiner, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 206–15 (testifying that the "[c]ause of death was as the direct result of a stab wound to the chest," which "[p]enetrated into the chest cavity and penetrated the lung . . . [causing the lung to] collapse[] . . . and bleed[] very rapidly" into the cavity, and causing "greater than two quarts of blood [to come out] in[to Wanda's] left chest cavity").

Eddie McConley, Corpus Christi Police Officer, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 289 ("[B]ecause I could see the large amount of blood and whatever was inside. I could see that the place was in disarray and whatever, you could tell that there had been a struggle there. Then I turned my attention toward the victim that Officer Fowler was working on. I couldn't see exactly where the wound was for the blood, but after looking at her and conversing with him, I immediately called for a follow-up investigator and identification and whatever because I knew the wounds were serious.").

Bruno Mejia, Corpus Christi Police Officer, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 67–70, 75–76, 80.

Bruno Mejia, Corpus Christi Police Officer, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 78 ("Q. What was the weather like that day? A. It was clear, mild, warm. Q. Had it rained? A. Not that I can recall, sir.").

Steven Fowler, Corpus Christi Police Officer, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 43 ("[P]eople that were right there at the store all began shouting and pointing in this direction (indicating) eastbound, this area around here (indicating)").

Steven Fowler, Corpus Christi Police Officer, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 58–60:

Q. [by defense counsel James Lawrence, on cross-examination] Now, these people that you saw that were pointing in a general direction, which direction were they pointing in or pointing at, I should say?

A. Westbound direction.

Q. Were they pointing—I would assume that there's another building there close by.

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Were they pointing directly at the building or were they pointing out at the—at an angle, say at a 45-degree angle indicating the access road or were they pointing behind that—that small wall that they have there for decorative purposes on each side of the service station?

A. I didn't pay that much attention to it.

Q. Did you notice the witness that you saw there leaning over the body [Kevan Baker], did he point in any general direction or did he point at all?

A. I—I don't recall exactly what—I remember—I remember when he stood up, I remember him looking in that direction. I was at the—I was still trying to recover from the drive over there because we went down the wrong way on the expressway running cars off the road trying to get there and Officer McCoy was a reserve [officer] and I think it's the third time I had ever let him drive the patrol car and I had been on top of him ever since we got the call screaming at him and I was at that time still a little hyper about the automobile drive. . . .

Q. [by prosecutor Steven Schiwetz] So the direction the people were point was which direction?

A. East.

Q. A few minutes ago you said "west." Did you just make a mistake?

A. I made a mistake. I'm human.

See supra Chapter 11, notes 195–207 and accompanying text.

See supra Chapter 2, notes 40–41, 137–138, 151–152, 178–203 & Figure 3 and accompanying text.

See supra Chapter 2, notes 186–187, 206–232 and accompanying text.

See supra Chapter 2, notes 207–214 and accompanying text.

See Ruben Rivera, Nueces County Deputy Constable, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 83–88, 98–108.

Ruben Rivera, Nueces County Deputy Constable, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 100–01 ("We directed our attention to this intersection here which was what the police broadcast put out, subject under a truck in this area . . . . So we either came up one of these streets here and came back to this location and we parked right about here . . . [because] there was a pickup truck that was pulled in a driveway . . . we just kept a foot search down in here and we saw another pickup truck down on this side.").

Ruben Rivera, Nueces County Deputy Constable, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 87 ("Q. What drew your attention to the person underneath it? A. Well, he was barefooted for one and he was—looked like he was hiding and I did hear some people over here shout that the person was underneath the truck and that diverted my attention to it and when I flashed my flashlight up underneath there, I saw some movement.").

Chapter 13
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