HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 13
Page: 7 of 23
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All Chapter 13 Footnotes

There was "another thing" about the DeLuna trial, Boudrie said, that "always stood out in my mind—no fingerprints. I think that would have made it a lot easier, if there were fingerprints. But there wasn't that one bit of evidence that would have really said, okay, he was in there . . . . That always bothered me."119

Overall, Boudrie thought, "that's some pretty flimsy evidence." It "was amazing, that that's all they had."120 DeLuna, she thought, had a shot at beating this thing with the jury.121 Even the defendant, who was portrayed as "this heinous person, this woman-hater, this violent person," in the end "seemed like an average, nice guy in some respects."122

* * * * *

Becky Nesmith had a similar reaction as she watched the prosecutors put on their case against the man they said had murdered her cousin Wanda.

She, too, thought the clean-cut young defendant swiveling his chair and chewing gum didn't "look like the type of person that would kill or do something bad."123

Based on the evidence she heard, she too "couldn't even figure out if this man was guilty."124

She recalled a male voice on the 911 tape buying cigarettes. "Why wasn't his voice compared to Carlos DeLuna's?"125 "There must have been blood on DeLuna's clothes," she remembered thinking. "Why wasn't any found?"126

* * * * *

For all her misgivings, news reporter Boudrie didn't realize that the descriptions the witnesses had originally given to police were so different from each other.127 It didn't register that Baker had told the police that the killer wore a grey sweatshirt and red flannel jacket, while the man the Arsuagas saw wore a white button-down dress shirt.128

Boudrie also never knew that Aguirre first described a man in blue jeans and a t-shirt, while the Arsuagas saw a man in black well-pressed slacks.129 That the man Baker came face-to-face with wore a mustache, and the man who ran by the Arsuagas was clean-shaven.130 That the unkempt "derelict" who Baker saw "sprint" away didn't match the well-dressed man out for a leisurely "jog" who struck the Arsuagas as comical.131 Or that the escape route Baker described was north "behind" the gas station towards Dodd Street, while the man the Arsuagas saw at the Phase III was headed east along the SPID service road.132

"That never came out," the longtime news reporter said. "None of us knew . . . that there were actually conflicting witness statements."133

As a flack for Republican candidates in Louisiana, Boudrie told the investigators in 2005, she didn't think of herself as a pushover or a bleeding-heart.134 She "was all for capital punishment." She had covered murder cases for years, including "more brutal and heinous cases than this one," and often had thought, "that person needs to be put to death."135 But Boudrie was troubled by the DeLuna case. "It absolutely bothers me," she said, "that the defense never had the opportunity to put a case on with that as the crux of it, to really be able to attack the witness identification."136

* * * * *

Along with presenting witness identifications of DeLuna, the prosecutors worked to tie the defendant to money from the Shamrock. Officer Schauer testified that immediately after Carlos DeLuna's arrest, he discovered $149 in the suspect's pocket.137

Schauer's initial police report had described "a wad of paper currency rolled up in [DeLuna's] right pants pocket."138 To the jury, he described it somewhat differently: "It was in like a wad. It wasn't rolled up into a neat little roll with a rubber band around it or anything like that . . . ."139 Schauer said he shuffled the bills before bringing them to station, so he didn't know what order they originally were in.140

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005) at 2:19:00 ("And another thing always stood out in my mind—no fingerprints. I think that would have made it a lot easier, if there were fingerprints. But there wasn't that one bit of evidence that would have really said, ok, he was in there, which Carlos. That always bothered me. I thought, boy, I sure wish they had fingerprints.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005) at 02:05:24, 02:17:53, 02:11:29 ("I remember thinking that, in some respects, that all they had was witness identification. . . . I remember thinking that's some pretty flimsy evidence . . . [and] that that was amazing, that that's all they had."; "[A]t the time, I do remember, at the end of the day, being doubtful. I still think, despite being green and being more understanding about witnesses now, I had some doubt that these were good I.D.'s. I don't think they were that convincing. And they were so brief. And I remember thinking, I'm glad I'm not on the jury convicting this guy."; "But I remember I wouldn't want to be on the jury to decide this. He was hiding nearby, and he was identified by one or two witnesses who saw him for a fraction, for one or two seconds. What they had was great, titillating, sensational evidence, but they didn't have a lot for Carlos.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005) at 02:11:29, 02:17:53 ("But I remember I wouldn't want to be on the jury to decide this. He was hiding nearby, and he was identified by one or two witnesses who saw him for a fraction, for one or two seconds. What they had was great, titillating, sensational evidence [referring to the 911 recording], but they didn't have a lot for Carlos."; "[A]t the time, I do remember, at the end of the day, being doubtful. I still think, despite being green and being more understanding about witnesses now, I had some doubt that these were good I.D.'s. I don't think they were that convincing. And they were so brief. And I remember thinking, I'm glad I'm not on the jury convicting this guy.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005 at 1:27:23 ("It was very interesting, because here's, for the first time, after covering this trial about someone who everybody called this heinous person, this woman-hater, this violent person. And I'm sitting face-to-face, with glass about this thick, from him. And he kind of seemed like an average, nice guy in some respects. And you have to keep telling yourself, this is the guy they were telling me about a year ago is horrible.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Becky Nesmith, Cousin of Wanda Lopez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 8, 2004) at 05:20:33–05:23:52:

At the time of the trial, I remember sitting there watching Carlos DeLuna swivel in his chair, chewing gum. He seemed to be a very handsome man. I sat there and questioned, did he do it? . . . He doesn't look like the type of person that would kill or do something bad . . . . And I questioned. I couldn't even figure out if this man was guilty based on the evidence that I heard at the time, when I was there.

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi's Notes on Interview with Becky Nesmith, Cousin of Wanda Lopez (Nov. 7, 2004) at 3 ("Becky . . . went to court for a class she was taking. When she saw DeLuna she questioned whether he was guilty. He looked so clean and handsome. He was chewing gum and looked too cool (calm/collected) to be guilty.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Becky Nesmith, Cousin of Wanda Lopez in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 8, 2004) at 05:20:33–05:23:52 ("I sat there and questioned, did he do it? . . . And I questioned. I couldn't even figure out if this man was guilty based on the evidence that I heard at the time, when I was there.");

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi's Notes on Interview with Becky Nesmith, Cousin of Wanda Lopez (Nov. 7, 2004) at 3 ("Becky watched part of DeLuna's trial. She went to court for a class she was taking. When she saw DeLuna she questioned whether he was guilty. He looked so clean and handsome. He was chewing gum and looked too cool (calm/collected) to be guilty.").

Bruce Whitman's Notes on Interview with Becky and Jesse Nesmith, Cousin of Wanda Lopez and her Husband (Sept. 28, 2004) at 2:

One of Becky's college classes took a field trip to the courthouse to view the court process. Coincidently, the trial in session during the class visit was the De Luna case. Becky sat with her class in the court room and listened to a 911 audio tape of Wanda talking to the dispatcher. Becky had questions about the case based on what she had seen in court and heard about the killing. For example: In the audio tape we heard in court there was a man asking for Marlboro [sic—Winston] cigarettes. Why wasn't his voice compared to Carlos De Luna's? . . . There must have been blood on De Luna's clothes? Why wasn't any found?

See supra note 125.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005) at 02:05:24:

But I remember thinking that's some pretty flimsy evidence. But none of us knew at that time that there were actually conflicting witness statements. That never came out. And to hear that later just really, really bothers me. It absolutely bothers me that the defense never had the opportunity to put a case on with that as the crux of it, to really be able to attack the witness identification. But in any event, I remember thinking that that was amazing, that that's all they had.

See supra Chapter 2, notes 45–48, 97–98, 137, 142–146, 155–177 and accompanying text & Figure 3.

See supra Chapter 2, notes 80–81, 97, 146–147 and accompanying text & Figure 3.

See supra Chapter 2, notes 47, 147–148, 233–237 and accompanying text & Figure 3.

See supra Chapter 2, notes 40, 45–47, 96, 101, 147–148, 153–154 and accompanying text & Figure 3.

See supra Chapter 2, notes 39–41, 92–95, 137–138, 149–150, 178, 192–195 and accompanying text & Figures 3, 4.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005) at 02:05:24:

But I remember thinking that's some pretty flimsy evidence. But none of us knew at that time that there were actually conflicting witness statements. That never came out. And to hear that later just really, really bothers me. It absolutely bothers me that the defense never had the opportunity to put a case on with that as the crux of it, to really be able to attack the witness identification. But in any event, I remember thinking that that was amazing, that that's all they had.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005) at 1:57:47–2:00:30:

Q. [Y]ou've . . . been through a lot of criminal cases. You're not somebody who is a bleeding heart or an activist in this area. You do a lot of political work now, is that right?

A. (affirmative)Mmm-hmm.

Q. Could you describe where that places you on the spectrum of the politics of Louisiana and the nation and things?

A. As I moved away from doing a lot of the police and courts things coming to New Orleans, and covered a lot of politics—mayors' and governors' races, local and state races, and even some national political races. That was a good background, a good training field to work on campaigns as a strategist, and as a media consultant and advisor. I work with the mayor of Kenner, which is Louisiana's sixth-largest city. I worked on two of his campaigns and help him get elected to his office as mayor in the city of Kenner, which is just outside of New Orleans. It's a city with a 64-million-dollar annual budget, so it's quite a plum for whoever is in charge there. . . .

Q. What party is the mayor from?

A. He's Republican. Conservative in most—all my candidates are Republicans, if that says anything. All the candidates I've worked with are Republican, so they're very conservative. Most of them are proponents of the death penalty.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005) at 01:39:20 ("Before, I was all for capital punishment, and thought it was—As murders go, I've seen and read and covered even more brutal and heinous crimes than this one in particular. There were many times I thought, 'That person needs to be put to death.'").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005) at 01:39:20 ("It absolutely bothers me that the defense never had the opportunity to put a case on with that as the crux of it, to really be able to attack the witness identification.").

Wanda Lopez's cousin Becky Nesmith had a similar reaction to information uncovered in the 2004 investigation. See Transcribed Videotape Interview with Becky Nesmith, Cousin of Wanda Lopez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 8, 2004) at 05:27:34:

I don't believe he stood a chance with the investigation that he had. I was told that the investigation was closed in two hours. I'm not a detective, but how can you close a case knowing that the man you captured had no blood on him whatsoever? And later learning that he had a mental handicap. How do you close a case like that? I'm not no expert in that, but if someone says, "There was someone with me," why not investigate? Why didn't Diamond Shamrock have cameras, at least for some kind of security? But I do believe the system does fail us. And the family of Carlos DeLuna should have some type of justice out of this . . . .

Mark Schauer, Corpus Christi Police Officer, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 120–21 ("I reached into his right-hand pocket to search him for weapons for our safety and I pulled out a—a wad of dollar [sic] and—a variety of American currency, bills . . . [I]t came to like a hundred and forty-nine dollars all together . . . .").

Mark Schauer, Corpus Christi Police Officer, Supplementary Report (Undated) at 9 ("I searched the subject for weapons and found a wad of paper currency rolled up in his right hand pants pocket. I later determined that there were (3) twenty dollar bills, (7) ten dollar bills, (1) five dollar bill, and (14) one dollar bills.").

Mark Schauer, Corpus Christi Police Officer, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 120–22 ("I reached into his right-hand pocket to search him for weapons for our safety and I pulled out a—a wad of dollar [sic] and—a variety of American currency, bills . . . It was in like a wad. . . . It wasn't rolled up into a neat little roll with a rubber band around it or anything like that, it was just like if you take a clump of money. . . . [I]t came to like a hundred and forty-nine dollars all together . . . they were pretty much in a bunch.").

Mark Schauer, Corpus Christi Police Officer, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 15, 1983) at 122 ("You have to remember also when I dug in his pocket I had to lay it on the grass. Q. You had to what? A. Some of it [the money] I had to lay on the grass and some of it I had to stick in my pocket, so during that exchange [when he reached inside DeLuna's pocket], it could have gotten mixed up so I really couldn't say when I pulled it out of his pocket if it was all 20's and then 10's and 5's and 1's, I can't say.").

Chapter 13
Page: 7 of 23