HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 15
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Figure 36: Mid–1980s TV news reports by Karen Boudrie in which she interviewed (top row) Carlos DeLuna on death row and (bottom, from left) Rene Rodriguez, lawyer for the Vargas family in their suit against Diamond-Shamrock, and former prosecutor Steven Schiwetz.

Boudrie's third report was on Rene Rodriguez's lawsuit against Diamond Shamrock on behalf of the Vargas family, but Boudrie found a place in it for DeLuna. After noting that Rodriguez was waiting for a response from Diamond Shamrock, Boudrie cut to a shot of Carlos DeLuna behind the glass partition.324

"Carlos DeLuna is also waiting, on Death Row," she said, "hoping he'll get good news about his appeal. He says he feels bad about what happened to Wanda Lopez, and also somewhat responsible because he was there. But he doesn't feel he should die for something he didn't do." 325

"I just wish people would. . . look for that person," DeLuna pleaded, concluding the broadcast interview.326

"[H]e continued to profess his innocence," Boudrie later said, summing up all of her talks with DeLuna. He was confident in his appeals.327

* * * * *

Boudrie recalled that when the end of DeLuna's appeals approached, her professional interest in the case had begun to change. She couldn't say precisely why. It may have been getting to know DeLuna better,328 the changes in him she'd observed during his years on death row,329 how freely he admitted the many bad things he'd done,330 or the earnestness of his denials that he killed Wanda Lopez.331

Whatever the cause, Boudrie had started thinking there might be more to DeLuna's "Carlos Hernandez" story than her neighbor and friend Steven Schiwetz thought.332 "Did we dot all the i's and cross all the t's in this case?" she wondered.333

She knew Carlos was right in one respect. "Nobody was really trying to find Carlos Hernandez for him."334 Some day, she thought, she would take on the search for Carlos Hernandez.335 While DeLuna was appealing his case, she "kept thinking there's more time, there's more time" to track this Hernandez down.336 She never dreamed that DeLuna's appeals would end as quickly as they did.337

* * * * *

Whatever concerns Boudrie was having privately, she and the other members of the press covering the story gave the case for DeLuna's execution ample space and air time in that first week in December 1989. "DeLuna has continued to maintain his innocence, claiming that the murder was committed by a friend named Carlos Hernandez," an article in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported.338

Transcribed VHS Tape of NewsWatch 10 Reports by Karen Boudrie, TV News Reporter (1984–85) at 00:06:11–00:06:53:

KAREN BOUDRIE: Rodriguez is currently awaiting a reply from the Diamond Shamrock corporation. Meanwhile, Carlos DeLuna is also waiting, on Death Row, hoping he'll get good news about his appeal. He says he feels bad about what happened to Wanda Lopez, and also somewhat responsible because he was there. But he doesn't feel he should die for something he didn't do.

Carlos DeLuna behind chain-link window.

DELUNA: I just wish people would do something about it and look for somebody, look for that person, I mean, and do something about it.

Transcribed VHS Tape of NewsWatch 10 Reports by Karen Boudrie, TV News Reporter (1984–85) at 00:06:11–00:06:53.

Transcribed VHS Tape of NewsWatch 10 Reports by Karen Boudrie, TV News Reporter (1984–85) at 00:06:11–00:06:53.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005) at 03:18:55–03:20:30:

Initially, he continued to profess his innocence, "I'm innocent. I'm confident about my appeals, I have hope about my appeals. But I am trying to go on with my life and do the best that I can, such as getting my G.E.D. and going to school and staying out of trouble." He was sort of lamenting his past at times. He didn't go into it a lot. He professed his innocence. He would not talk about Carlos Hernandez because of the appeals. He didn't want to say anything that would taint his appeal, even though that wasn't an issue that the attorneys were really delving into. Nobody was really trying to find Carlos Hernandez for him, unfortunately. But Carlos really didn't want to get into that. He would not let me delve into who was this guy, really, what did you know. You never got to hear a lot about him. It just sounded like that part of his case was a done deal, and nobody was going to believe him. At the same time, he would also bring up the fact that his case was on appeal so he would not talk about that.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005), at 01:27:33–01:28:50:

I had no idea what to expect [when she first went to interview DeLuna on death row]. I wasn't sure whether I'd be in a room with him, or if there'd be guards all around. 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. It was interesting to see him in that light, to see him more as a human being, not just this caricature of himself that was portrayed in the trial. To sit down and have a conversation with him . . . .

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005) at 01:30:50–01:33:40:

Every time I talked to Carlos, and in every letter, he talked about how his life had gone astray but he always denied committing this crime. Of course, as a journalist, everyone around you's saying, "Oh, come on, Karen, they all say that. They all say that. You're naive, you're green." So I had doubts. I had doubts about myself as far as, are you too green? Are you believing this guy because you haven't been around the block enough? But as the years progressed and I had covered more trials and got a little more experience under my belt, I realized that there was something happening with Carlos. . . . I remember him saying, "Karen, you're the only one who treated me like a human being. You're the only one that ever had just a little bit of compassion for me, and wrote back to me, and just treated me like a human being." Everybody else just seemed to—as far as the system or people he came into contact with that weren't prosecutors or defense attorneys—that treated him as a human being. That meant something to me as a journalist, because people think of us as just these cold people who have no feelings. We go out and we just want to ruin people's lives and report all the disaster and all the mayhem out there and not ever put it in a context of humanity, so to speak. That meant something to me.

See supra notes 25–32 and accompanying text.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005), at 01:30:50–01:31:35, 01:37:29–01:39:20 ("Every time I talked to Carlos, and in every letter, he talked about how his life had gone astray . . . ."; "He had always admitted other wrongs, the ways his life had gone astray, getting in with the wrong crowd. We talked about that a little bit in that last conversation as well.");

see also Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rev. Carroll Pickett, Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:35:15–22:39:30 ("He loved his family very much. He was sorry that he'd ended up like this. But we had been talking all day about how his life had not been a good life. He'd messed with the wrong crowd, moved with the wrong people at the wrong time.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005), at 01:30:50–01:31:35, 01:37:29–01:39:20 ("Every time I talked to Carlos, and in every letter, he talked about how his life had gone astray but he always denied committing this crime."; "He had always admitted other wrongs, the ways his life had gone astray, getting in with the wrong crowd. We talked about that a little bit in that last conversation as well. But he never admitted that one crime for which he was dying for.");

see also Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005) at 1:41:22–1:43:40 ("And I covered the civil trial involving the Diamond Shamrock and Wanda Lopez's family. I covered that. This case never seemed to let go of me. All those years I was in Corpus, there were connections. There were appeals, I would follow the case itself as a reporter. But different aspects of it, these people that were involved, always seemed to crop up in my life in one way or another.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005) at 01:33:40–01:34:50:

I started to look at Carlos a little differently over the years. Maybe he was not this monster they made him out to be. I started to see him more as a human being, and I didn't want to see him put to death. Also, about at the time, I started feeling a little bit guilty that I hadn't tried harder to maybe do some more stories, make some more noise, or write about this, do something, say, "Why are they putting somebody to death? Why were the wheels of justice in Texas, in particular, at that time, moving so swiftly for this man versus some of these other people who'd been there ten years longer than Carlos?" I guess that's why, also, in the back of my mind, I kept thinking, he'll get a stay, this isn't going to happen. But it just moved so quickly, I couldn't believe it. Part of me still feels guilty to this day that I didn't step up and say, as a journalist, there's some doubt here, and maybe we ought to take a closer look at this. And I never got that chance.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005) at 03:34:55–03:37:24:

I never got a really good explanation from anybody [about why DeLuna's appeals moved through the courts so much more quickly than those of other death row inmates]. I don't understand. It just was unimaginable to me. There were people on Death Row that had been there 10 years, 15 years longer than Carlos, who were still there. And he was just rushed through. It was unheard-of. And right about the time, right before this last death date for Carlos, I remember they were working on some legislation concerning the swiftness of the appellate process. They were actually trying to cut down the number of appeals. This was being pushed at the time. They were saying the appeals process was taking too long, and they were trying to limit the number of appeals, I believe there was some legislation at the time. I remember interviewing . . . [a local] judge. I remember interviewing him talking about—And I remember one of his quotes. Judge Villareal said, "We've got to make sure we dot all our i's and we cross all our t's when it comes to these capital cases, but they're dragging on." There was just no good explanation for it from anybody, that I ever got. It was just unbelievable. That was why I kept thinking there's more time, there's more time, if I'm going to do something, if I'm going to try to help Carlos or go visit him again, I've got plenty of time. I never dreamed that it was going to happen when it did, that it would happen when it did.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005) at 03:18:55–03:20:30.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005) at 03:18:55–03:20:30.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005) at 03:34:55–03:37:24:

Q. You covered a number of capital cases in Texas when you were working in media there. Did you have any thoughts or impressions about the time it took for this case to get from trial to execution?

A. Unbelievably swift, this case was. We talked about that. I talked about that with Carlos. We talked about that. I never got a really good explanation from anybody. I don't understand. It just was unimaginable to me. There were people on Death Row that had been there 10 years, 15 years longer than Carlos, who were still there. And he was just rushed through. It was unheard-of. . . . There was just no good explanation for it from anybody, that I ever got. It was just unbelievable. That was why I kept thinking there's more time, there's more time, if I'm going to do something, if I'm going to try to help Carlos or go visit him again, I've got plenty of time. I never dreamed that it was going to happen when it did, that it would happen when it did.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005) at 03:34:55–03:37:24.

Cindy Tumiel, Convicted Killer Executed After Court Rejects Appeals, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Dec. 7, 1989, at B1 ("DeLuna has continued to maintain his innocence, claiming that the murder was committed by a friend named Carlos Hernandez. But those whose lives were touched by the crime doubt the story. 'He'll be lying until he dies,' said Mary Vargas, Lopez' mother. 'He'll lie like he's been lying. Now he has to pay for what he did to my daughter.'").

Chapter 15
Page: 24 of 29