HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 16
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Pickett told Carlos that would be fine,102 but "it sort of shook me,"103 Pickett admitted to the investigators. "I've got four children and three step-children and fourteen grandchildren, and I know what 'daddy' means."104 After that, Pickett could see, Carlos "was willing to discuss anything" with him.105

Carlos had a lot of family members to attend to, Pickett recalled.106 Several were at the prison that day, including his sister Rose, his half-siblings Vicky, Mary, and Danny, and their spouses.107 Later, he made phone calls to his half-sister Toni Peña in Corpus Christi and his brother Manuel, who was in a prison unit south of Houston.108 Carlos also contacted Karen Boudrie. In the middle of a move from Corpus Christi to a job with a new TV station in Georgia,109 Boudrie wasn't covering Carlos's story any more. He reached her by phone in Cincinnati, where she was visiting her parents.

"[T]hey were good people,"110 Pickett remembered.111 "A lot of inmates who died have good people." Whatever the inmate had done wrong, "their families were innocent," and Pickett made it his business to treat them with dignity and respect.112

Family visits with inmates about to be executed occurred in a building near the Death House incongruously called the "hospitality house."113 Carlos wanted to see his people separately, not all at once.114 According to Pickett's notes,115 Carlos saw his sister Rose and her husband Brad from 10 a.m. to noon, Danny and his wife for the two hours after that, half-sisters Mary and Vicky from 2 to 3 p.m., and Rose and Brad a second time after that.116

The first time Carlos faced an execution date, back in October 1986, officials hadn't yet moved him to the Walls when he got his reprieve from Judge Head.117 As Rose drove over to the prison that morning in 1989, she remembered the day three years earlier as a "happy moment."118 But she knew that "when you go to the Walls, that's it. The chances of you getting out of there are thin."119

Still, Rose, a deeply religious woman, was filled with hope.120 Recently, she had hired a new lawyer, Kristen Weaver, to get a reprieve for her brother, and he had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to grant a stay of execution.121 If that failed, Weaver would ask Governor Clements for clemency.122

It was "very painful," Rose said, seeing Carlos at the hospitality house that morning. He was as thin as she'd ever seen him, "maybe 125 pounds."123 She could see that her brother was nervous,124 but he was also "very quiet, very peaceful, more peaceful than the ones there that were not in that situation"125—including Rose herself. She and her husband Brad spent their time with Carlos in the morning talking about the Supreme Court and the Governor. "I thought, for sure, for sure, he was going to get out of it. Deep in my heart, I believed God's going to get him out of this. And I told him that," Rose recalled.126

That afternoon, they heard that the Supreme Court had rejected Carlos's petition.127

* * * * *

Kristen Weaver remembers the days leading up to December 6 as "a flurry of [court] filings and denials, then more filings and denials," which he orchestrated from his office in Dallas, 175 miles north of the Walls.128 "And finally, when we'd run out of everything else," he placed a phone call to the Governor's counsel, Rider Strong, "trying to explain all of the different reasons I thought [Carlos] shouldn't be executed, and then waiting for Rider to call back. That was basically the process."129

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 21:49:22–21:50:40, 22:13:52–22:15:40 (quoted supra note 100).

See supra notes 100–101.

See supra notes 100–101.

See supra notes 100–101.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 21:47:35–21:49:22:

I'll never forget Carlos. Carlos . . . it was a long day. Even though he had a tremendous amount of visitors. And they were good people. A lot of inmates who died have good people. They might have done something wrong, they might have been accused of something wrong, but their families were innocent. So one of my responsibilities was to get the families in. But before Carlos ever let his family in, he told me—I was there when he came in . . . . We had lots of time to talk. And I asked Carlos, since I was responsible for bringing in his visitors, who he wanted to see and how long he wanted to see them. And I explained to him the visitation times. And he was very, very cooperative. But he was very, very—I don't want to use the word immature or childish, but he was very simple. He began to hang on to me. And I mean that not critically, but he didn't want me to leave. He wouldn't let me leave. And there were certain responsibilities I had to do. Every execution day was set aside just for that, it didn't have anything to do with my work in the unit. But there were reports to give to the warden, reports to give to the executioners, and there was a time when I would go visit with the family.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:26:53–22:27:34 ("We'd made calls that night. His family visited in the daytime, and then I went over to the hospitality house to visit them, and they decided they . . . didn't want to witness [the execution]. And he wanted to talk to me about it, and to tell them goodbye, and the family wanted to tell him goodbye.")

see James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, (July 11, 2004) at 1 ("[Carlos's family] [d]idn't see execution; time of visit with CDL [Carlos DeLuna] is indicated: Rosemary & Brad, 10–12[;] Daniel Conejo & Maria Conejo 12–2 [;] Maria Ar[re]dando & Vicky Gutierrez 2–3[;] Rosemary & Brad [again.] Called [i.e., telephoned, members of] his family 8:37–8:50 at hospitality house. Toni Pena—wanted to make a call to her. He did call her 9:04–9:26 p.m. Karen Boutard [sic—Boudrie] in Cincinnati, OH. Called her last.").

See James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain (July 11, 2004) at 1;

infra notes 160–167 and accompanying text.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:27:34–22:28:55 ("So he made that call to his family, and called to the one sister who couldn't come, and called . . . [TV reporter Karen Boudrie] in—I think it's Cincinnati, Ohio, somewhere up there, I may have to look it up. And then after that it was all just me and him.");

James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain (July 11, 2004) at 1.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 21:47:35–21:49:22.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 21:47:35–21:49:22;

see Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:26:53–22:27:34 ("We'd made calls that night. His family visited in the daytime, and then I went over to the hospitality house to visit them, and they decided they . . . didn't want to witness [the execution]. And he wanted to talk to me about it, and to tell them goodbye, and the family wanted to tell him goodbye.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 21:47:35–21:49:22.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:26:53–22:27:34 ("His family visited in the daytime, and then I went over to the hospitality house to visit them, and they decided they . . . didn't want to witness [the execution]. And he wanted to talk to me about it, and to tell them goodbye, and the family wanted to tell him goodbye. And we worked out a deal over at the hospitality house. Bob Norris was super. That house wasn't built for that purpose but we turned it into that.");

James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain (July 11, 2004) at 1 ("[Carlos's family] [d]idn't see execution; time of visit with CDL [Carlos DeLuna] is indicated: Rosemary & Brad, 10–12[;] Daniel Conejo & Maria Conejo12–2 [;] Maria Arendando & Vickey Gutierrez 2–3[;] Rosemary & Brad [again.] Called [i.e., telephoned, members of] his family 8:37–8:50 at hospitality house.").

See supra note 113.

See Susan Montez's Notes on Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain (July 17, 2004) at 1 ("Having already spoken with Peso Chavez, Reverend Pickett was prepared to talk to me about Carlos DeLuna. He opened a file and told me he saves everything. The file contained handwritten notes regarding Carlos DeLuna's last hours. The notes discussed Carlos's chosen visitors, his phone calls, his choice of spiritual advisor, his will, and the execution itself.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:26:53–22:27:34 ("His family visited in the daytime, and then I went over to the hospitality house to visit them, and they decided they . . . didn't want to witness [the execution]. And he wanted to talk to me about it, and to tell them goodbye, and the family wanted to tell him goodbye. And we worked out a deal over at the hospitality house. Bob Norris was super. That house wasn't built for that purpose but we turned it into that.");

James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain (July 11, 2004) at 1 ("[Carlos's family] [d]idn't see execution; time of visit with CDL [Carlos DeLuna] is indicated: Rosemary & Brad, 10–12[;] Daniel Conejo & Maria Conejo12–2 [;] Maria Arendando & Vickey Gutierrez 2–3[;] Rosemary & Brad [again.] Called [i.e., telephoned, members of] his family 8:37–8:50 at hospitality house.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 21:11:45–21:16:38:

We all went to go see Carlos [on the day set for his execution]. Actually, I believe it's called the Walls. That's where they take you. The first time he was scheduled to be executed [in 1986], he was still in Huntsville [sic—the Ellis Unit outside Huntsville], inside the Death Row, he was never taken to the Walls. And he was able to receive his stay, which was a very happy moment. Second time that he was scheduled to be executed, he was taken to the Walls. We never went to [the Ellis Unit], we actually were told to go to the Walls. And I believe that's known as where you go to these smaller cells—I think there's only two of them, or three—and that's when they're getting ready to execute you. That's your time. . . . [W]hen you go to the Walls, that's it. The chances of you getting out of there are very thin, knowing now what I know, it's very slim, getting out of there. That time, we didn't think that Carlos would be executed. We thought for sure he would get out of this, because as far as our faith. I'm saying that not having the faith and not trusting God, because I'm not angry with God anymore. But going through it again, just thinking about it, it was very painful seeing him. He was very thin than his normal weight, very, very thin. I would think Carlos, it's as thin as I've ever seen him. I've seen him maybe 125 pounds, very thin. He was very quiet, very peaceful, more peaceful than the ones [there] that were not in that situation. He was nervous, as I could see in his face, he was nervous. And I thought, for sure, for sure, he was going to get out of it. Deep in my heart, I believed God's going to get him out of this. And I told him that.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 21:11:45–21:16:38.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 21:11:45–21:16:38.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 21:11:45–21:16:38.

See supra Chapter 15, notes 243–249 and accompanying text.

See Texas Bd. of Pardon & Paroles, Clemency: What is Clemency?, at http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/bpp/exec_clem/exec_clem.html#WHAT_IS_EXECUTIVE_CLEMENCY (last visited Nov. 20, 2011); supra Chapter 15, notes 303–304 and accompanying text; infra notes 128–45 and accompanying text.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 21:11:45–21:16:38:

We all went to go see Carlos [on the day set for his execution]. Actually, I believe it's called the Walls. That's where they take you. The first time he was scheduled to be executed [in 1986], he was still in Huntsville [sic—the Ellis Unit outside Huntsville], inside the Death Row, he was never taken to the Walls. And he was able to receive his stay, which was a very happy moment. Second time that he was scheduled to be executed, he was taken to the Walls. We never went to [the Ellis Unit], we actually were told to go to the Walls. And I believe that's known as where you go to these smaller cells—I think there's only two of them, or three—and that's when they're getting ready to execute you. That's your time. . . . [W]hen you go to the Walls, that's it. The chances of you getting out of there are very thin, knowing now what I know, it's very slim, getting out of there. That time, we didn't think that Carlos would be executed. We thought for sure he would get out of this, because as far as our faith. I'm saying that not having the faith and not trusting God, because I'm not angry with God anymore. But going through it again, just thinking about it, it was very painful seeing him. He was very thin than his normal weight, very, very thin. I would think Carlos, it's as thin as I've ever seen him. I've seen him maybe 125 pounds, very thin. He was very quiet, very peaceful, more peaceful than the ones [there] that were not in that situation. He was nervous, as I could see in his face, he was nervous. And I thought, for sure, for sure, he was going to get out of it. Deep in my heart, I believed God's going to get him out of this. And I told him that.

See supra note 123.

See supra note 123.

See supra note 123.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 21:11:45–21:16:38.

see Susan Montez's Notes on Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain (July 17, 2004) at 4 ("The . . . Supreme Court denied Carlos a stay of execution at 4:53 p.m.");

Kathy Fair, DeLuna Waits for Execution in '83 Murder, Hous. Chron., Dec. 7, 1989, at 36A ("Carlos DeLuna's fate was sealed about 4:15 pm Wednesday when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant the 10th grade [sic—8th grade] dropout a stay."; "News of the high court's decision appeared to upset the inmate, said Charles Brown, spokesman for the prison system. 'I'm human. Of course I'm afraid to die,' he said.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Kristen Weaver, Post-Trial Lawyer for Carlos DeLuna in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005) at 02:49:00 (describing his actions on December 6, 1989: "Basically it was a flurry of filings and denials, then more filings and more denials. And finally, when we'd run out of everything else, phone calls to [the Governor's advisor] Rider [Strong] trying to explain all of the different reasons I thought he shouldn't be executed, and then waiting for Rider to call back. That was basically the process.").

Weaver was in Dallas, approximately, 175 miles from Huntsville where the execution was scheduled to take place at midnight. See also Holdings of the Texas State Archives, Transcript of Conference Call Re: Clemency for Carlos DeLuna Between Ryder Strong, Advisor to Governor William Clements, Jr., Kristen Weaver, Lawyer for Carlos DeLuna, and William Zapalac, Lawyer for the State of Texas, (Dec. 6, 1989) at 1.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Kristen Weaver, Post-Trial Lawyer for Carlos DeLuna, in Dallas, Texas (Feb. 28, 2005) at 02:49:00–2:49:41.

Chapter 16
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