Anyone who spent time around Carlos Hernandez after 1978, when he made parole on his armed robbery convictions, almost surely saw him being arrested for one thing or another.1 It happened dozens of times.2 But Hernandez's arrests were an especially important part of Dina Ybañez's four-year friendship with him. Dina met him because he was being arrested—in mid-April 1985, his thirteenth trip to jail since 1978.3 Four years later, in mid-April 1989, Hernandez used a lock-blade buck knife to rip a four-inch incision in Ybañez's abdomen, prompting his twentieth arrest.4
April was a bad month to be around Hernandez, whatever the year. That was the month he held up three gas station attendants at gunpoint in 19725 and also when he was arrested behind a 7-Eleven with a knife in 1983 and promptly fingerprinted in connection with the Wanda Lopez killing.6 April also saw arrests for drunk and disorderly in 19857 and drug possession in 1990,8 as well as the knife attack on Dina Ybañez in 1989.9
When Corpus police took Carlos Hernandez into custody on the occasion of his first encounter with Dina, Carlos DeLuna was on death row waiting for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to decide his first appeal. When Hernandez's knife attack on Dina triggered Hernandez's April 1989 arrest, DeLuna was seven and one-half months away from being executed.
Still, although Carlos Hernandez was far from an apparition to Dina Ybañez and the officers and prosecutors who repeatedly arrested and tried him in the mid- and late–1980s, he remained one to the lawyers and judges who decided Carlos DeLuna's fate. None of Hernandez's nine arrests while Carlos DeLuna was on death row—not even the arrests for killing one10 and for nearly killing another young Hispanic women with a knife—triggered action by the Corpus Christi Police or the District Attorney's office to alert the lawyers or judges responsible for DeLuna's appeals that a Corpus Christi criminal named Carlos Hernandez had been found.
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Carlos Hernandez's association with Dina began innocently enough around 8:30 p.m. on April 17, 1985, when the police picked up Hernandez for public intoxication while erratically riding a bicycle past Dina's house on Buford Street. She lived around the corner from the Hancock Street residence that Hernandez was then sharing with Diana Gomez.11 Gomez would soon walk out on Hernandez, after he told her how he killed Dahlia Sauceda. Soon after that, Gomez would report Hernandez to Eddie Garza and Paul Rivera who would then arrest him for murder.12
But in mid-April 1985, the arrest of a mustachioed man in a white t-shirt and jeans for drunk driving while on a bicycle probably occasioned some amusement on Buford Street and attracted Dina Ybañez outside her house to watch.13 Never one to miss a chance to flirt with an attractive young woman, even while in the clutches of police officers, Hernandez asked Dina to look after his bicycle.14
When Hernandez was finally able to pay the sixty-three dollar fine several days later, he returned to Dina's house for his bike.15 Although both his intoxication and criminal offense violated his parole conditions,16 the police didn't bother to report either to the parole board.
Fifteen years later, Dina talked at length with private investigators about her ill-starred friendship with Hernandez. After the bicycle incident, she got to know Carlos better and became friendly with his long-suffering girlfriend Cindy Maxwell.17 Carlos disappeared for a time in 1986 after Detectives Garza and Rivera arrested him, but was back in the neighborhood after New Years, when his lawyer Jon Kelly got rid of the Sauceda charges for good.
Arrest Sheet No. 12834 for Carlos Hernandez, Corpus Christi Police Dept (Apr. 17, 1985) at 1 ("Above listed was observed to be riding a bicycle in an a erratic manner weaving in a way which was endangering his life"). Hernandez's arrest occurred at 800 Buford Street, near where Dina Ybañez was then living.
See infra notes 13–14. Carlos Hernandez was then living at Cindy Maxwell's house at 826 Hancock Street. Hancock is parallel to, and one block north of, Buford Street. See Google Maps, https://maps.google.com (search "1014 Seventh Street Corpus Christi Texas") (last visited Mar. 25, 2012). In regard to Hernandez's penchant for riding a bicycle while drunk, see Bruce Whitman's Notes on Interview with Johnny Arsuaga, Cousin of Carlos Hernandez (Nov. 3, 2005) at 1–2 ("Carlos Hernandez was an alcoholic and the last time Johnny saw Carlos Hernandez was when Carlos Hernandez was living near [Fidela Hernandez's sister] Josephine [Arsuaga] at the Hudson address. Carlos Hernandez rode a bike to Josephine's when he was drunk and fell off and passed out in the street in front of his aunt's house.").
See supra Chapter 7, notes 170–177 and accompanying text.
Transcribed Videotape Interview with Dina Ybañez, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez (Dec. 7, 2004) at 03:24:30 ("Carlos was going to get arrested outside my house one day, and I went outside and asked the police if he can leave his bike out there until he get out of jail. I didn't know him then, but that's how we started talking.");
see infra Figure 42 (mug shot of Carlos Hernandez at the time of his April 17, 1985 arrest, showing the clothes he was wearing at the time).
Transcribed Videotape Interview with Dina Ybañez, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez (Dec. 7, 2004) at 03:24:30;
James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Dina Ybañez, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez (July 13, 2004) at 1 ("He [Carlos Hernandez] was always walking around with bicycle in front of her house. Got arrested and left [bicycle] because he was there drunk.").
Arrest Sheet No. 12834 for Carlos Hernandez, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Apr. 17, 1985) at 1 (indicating that Hernandez was arrested around 8:30 p.m. on April 17, 1985 and released on April 22, 1985 after paying a $63 fine.)
See supra Chapter 9, notes 28–32 and accompanying text.
Transcribed Videotape Interview with Dina Ybañez, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez (Dec. 7, 2004) at 03:24:29 ("Q. And how was it that you got to know [Hernandez]? A. I started being friends with his girlfriend, Cindy. Q. OK. A. And then he started going to my house, drinking with my husband. Q. Alright. A. It just stayed like that for years. Q. Did you get to know Carlos Hernandez pretty well? A. Yeah. Q. Was he a friend of yours? At the time? A. I used to think he was.").
See references cited supra note 1.
Arrest Sheet No. 12834 for Carlos Hernandez, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Apr. 17, 1985) at 1 ("Above listed [Carlos Hernandez] was observed to be riding a bicycle in an a [sic] erratic manner weaving in a way which was endangering his life").
Transcribed Videotape Interview with Dina Ybañez, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez, (Dec. 7, 2004) at 03:34:29–03:34:38; 03:21:59 ("Q. Is that the knife he [Carlos Hernandez] used to carry with him? A. DY: All the time"; "[Dina Ybanez] lifts up shirt, revealing a scar that runs from belly button to sternum");
Arrest Sheet No. 68362 for Carlos Hernandez, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Apr. 15, 1989) (reporting arrest of Hernandez for knife attack on Dina Ybañez);
Steve Mills & Maurice Possley, The Secret that Wasn't, Chi. Trib., June 27, 2006, available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/services/newspaper/eedition/chi-tx-3-story,0,761635.htmlstory:
Dina Ybanez . . . met Hernandez in 1985, and after he befriended her and her husband, he confided that he killed Lopez. "He said he was the one that did it, but that they got somebody else—his stupid tocayo—for that one," Ybanez said in an interview. "Carlos would just laugh about it because he got away with it."
Like a number of people in Corpus Christi who knew Hernandez, Ybanez said he also admitted committing the 1979 murder of Dahlia Sauceda, a local woman who was strangled and had an "X" carved into her back. Hernandez was questioned in the murder in 1979, then indicted for it in 1986, although prosecutors never took him to trial.
Ybanez said she so feared Hernandez that she never contacted police about his admissions, not even after he cut her from her navel to her sternum during a quarrel. "He said he was going to kill me like he did her," she said.
See supra Chapter 6, notes 166–170 and accompanying text.
See supra Chapter 9, notes 73–85 and accompanying text.
See infra notes 11–15 and accompanying text.
Disciplinary Report for Carlos Hernandez, Tex. Dep't of Corrections (Apr. 15, 1990) at 3 ("I told inmate HERNANDEZ, 'Give me the match boxes.'. . . In one of the match boxes was some matches and two dark lavender colored tablets with GG451 on them. I kept them and when I took them to the infirmary I was told they are 75 mg elavil.").
See infra notes 52–80 and accompanying text.