HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 2
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All Chapter 2 Footnotes

The couple described the man as Hispanic, about 5’8”, 170 pounds, with wavy, medium-length dark hair.96 He wore “dark slacks” pressed “uniform”-style and a white button-down dress shirt.97

Of the witnesses, Julie had the best eye for details of coif and clothing. Her description of the shirt was typical: “The sleeve was rolled up, it was a white, you know, blouse-style shirt, you know, something like what you [a lawyer in court] have on.”98 It “was open, you know, because I could see the side of it, kind of flapping back a little bit—might not have been completely unbuttoned, but close to the bottom it was.”99

The man the Arsuagas saw was “not running fast, just a self-set pace—you know, jogging, kind of.”100 He struck John and Julie as comical. They joked about someone out for a leisurely jog in dress clothes at night.101

After the man disappeared, the Arsuagas heard sirens and noticed some commotion at the Sigmor station.102 John could see a man there helping someone down onto the ground in front of the station’s store, followed by the arrival of two or three police cars.103 What had seemed silly suddenly looked serious. John flashed his headlights and honked his horn to get the cops’ attention.104 When that didn’t work, the two drove west past the Harley-Davidson shop to Ziebart’s garage, parked their car, and ran next door to the Sigmor to tell the police what they’d seen.105

* * * * *

The witnesses’ recollections are not the only first-hand accounts of what happened that night. Two police audio tapes also tell a story. The first is the 911 tape of Wanda’s call about a man with a knife inside her store at 2602 South Padre Island Drive—the tape that ends with Wanda’s scream, the scuffle, and someone hanging up the phone.106 Police evidently gave this tape to the TV stations to use.107 It is the only tape police disclosed to the public after Wanda’s death.108

The other tape contains forty-two minutes and thirty-one seconds of telephone and radio calls to and from Jesse Escochea, the Corpus Christi Police Department’s untrained, twenty-two-year-old radio dispatcher.109 It was police practice to record over the master tape of 911 calls and radio dispatches every forty-five days or so, but they made a copy of this 911 call and the forty-plus minutes of radio traffic that followed it during a massive manhunt for the attacker.110

Although Escochea went over the manhunt tape with a state’s attorney several months later,111 the tape’s existence was unknown to anyone outside law enforcement until private investigators tracked it down twenty-two years later in Escochea’s possession in Los Angeles.112

Not long after Wanda’s murder, Escochea had left Corpus Christi for L.A., where he worked for a time as an LAPD dispatcher. Later, he took occasional roles as an actor in cops-and-robbers TV shows, and made a living tracking and filming police emergency runs and turning them into reality videos for foreign markets.113 He kept a copy of the manhunt tape as a souvenir of what he told a news reporter was one of his most memorable moments as a dispatcher.114

The forty-two-minute manhunt tape begins with Wanda’s 911 call, which Escochea answered by happenstance. As the dispatcher, he wasn’t supposed to pick up the phone, but he did because the incoming-call light had been flashing for a long time, and neither of the regular operators had answered it.115 The remainder of the tape records radio traffic between Escochea and police officers in the field during the chaotic manhunt for Wanda’s attacker. It ends with Carlos DeLuna’s arrest.

* * * * *

Julie Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Pretrial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 20, 1983) at 87–88 (“We were pulling in [to the Phase III parking lot] and just, you know, for no apparent reason my husband said, ‘Look at that guy,’ and he was just about to go into the field. And he was, you know, not really running fast, but kind of like, you know, just self-set pace, you know, jogging, kind of. And I said, ‘Well, he probably has somewhere to go.’”);

John Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 244 (“A. Well I noticed a man running . . . . eastbound . . . . away from the Sigmor . . . . Q. Did you have your lights on? A. Yes, sir. Q. All right. Was the man – well, describe how the man was running? Was it a fast run, a lope, a jog, a trot, what? A. It was a very slow run, almost a jog, about like a jog.”).

Bruno Mejia, Corpus Christi Police Officer, Supplementary Report (Feb. 4, 1983) at 3 (“[The Arsuagas] were together in their car driving into the Phase III parking lot at 2632 SPID . . . and they both advised me [at the gas station that evening] that they observed a Hispanic male, approximately 5’7” to 5’9”, dark hair, wearing a white long-sleeve shirt untucked and unbuttoned, running across the Phase III parking lot, eastbound, toward the rear of the Lebowitz Furniture Store located at 2660 SPID. Both witnesses, Mr. and Mrs. John Arsuaga, stated that the subject was not running very fast . . . .”);

Julie Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Pretrial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 20, 1983) at 87 (“And I said, ‘Well, he probably has somewhere to go.’”);

John Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A at 243 (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 255 (“I made a comment about bad time to jog or something . . . .”);

Julie Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 347–8 (“John said, ‘Hey, look at that man, you know, running.’ And, you know, he usually gives me a smart answer when I say something like that and I said, ‘Well, he probably has somewhere to go.’”).

John Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Statement to Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) at 1:

I noticed that he was running across a field beside Phase III and then he cut across at about a 45 degree angle behind Lebowitz Furniture. It was at about this time that I saw a commotion going on outside the Sigmor Service Station which is close by. I saw a man helping someone down onto the ground in front of the station. I then saw two or three patrol cars drive up onto the parking lot at Sigmor. I then realized that something was wrong and I looked back toward where I’d seen the guy running away from the area.

Julie Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Pretrial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 20, 1983) at 87–88 (“And then we saw the police cars and everything . . . . Then my husband saw the police and he thought, well, you know, maybe this guy had something to do with why the police were out here . . . .”);

John Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 244 (“Q. Now, when you pulled in there or were in the process of pulling in, did you notice anything unusual? A. Yes, I did . . . I saw about—well, I saw two patrol cars pull into the Sigmor gas station.”);

Julie Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 350 (“Well, John saw a commotion over at the Sigmor, you know, there was a police car driving by and he thought maybe this guy had something to do with it”).

See sources cited supra note 102.

John Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Statement to Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) at 1 (“I then realized that something was wrong and I looked back toward where I’d seen the guy running away from the area. I then tried to get the Police’s attention by flashing my car lights. I was not successful, so I then pulled up to the Ziebart Co. and then I ran to where the officers were. I told them the location of where I’d seen the man running.”);

John Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Pretrial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 20, 1983) at 63 (“I backed up my car and I headed over to the Sigmor and I honked and I flashed my lights at the officers—well, first I had done that and then I headed over to the Sigmor, then I got Officer Mejia to listen to me, I guess.”);

Julie Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Pretrial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 20, 1983) at 88:

Then my husband saw the police and he thought, well, you know, maybe this guy had something to do with why the police were out here, so he pulled the car around and there were some police cars coming and we were honking at them and everything, trying to get them to stop, but they just kept going, so we jumped out of the car and some policeman ran toward us, and, you know, we just told them what we had seen and that one policeman asked us for a description of him and, you know, we told him what he was wearing and as, you know, we had seen what he looked like.

John Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A at 243 (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 247 (“Q. What did you do after the man disappeared from view? A. I tried to signal the police by flashing my high lights at them and honking. Q. Were you able to get a response out of them? A. No, I wasn’t, not at that time. Q. So what did you do? A. I drove my car through the parking lot right up to the Sigmor Service Station and I told an officer where I had seen the man run.”);

Julie Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 350 (“[S]o he [John], you know, backed the car up and pulled around and we both jumped out of the car and the police car didn’t stop, but then a policeman ran up to us and he asked us if we saw anything and we told him that we saw a man running and he asked us for the description and he asked us to wait there.”).

See sources cited supra note 104.

Crime Scene Photograph 25500006, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500013, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500031, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983)

(all showing the receiver on the phone in the cradle when police arrived); Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983) at 3 (“[When Escobedo entered the crime scene for the first time,] the telephone was cradled properly and was heard to be ringing a few minutes after we entered the premises. . . . Dispatcher Escochea had stated that he had been talking to the victim and that he heard the struggle and then the phone had been dropped.”).

See supra Chapter 1, notes 59–61, 77 and accompanying text.

Police Dispatch Tape, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) at 00:00:19–00:01:44;

Police Transcription of Corpus Christi Police Dep’t Audio Tape of Wanda Lopez’s 911 Phone Call (Feb. 10, 1983) at 1–3;

Police 911 Recording, Trial Trans., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 488-90.

Police Dispatch Tape, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

see 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 26–27 (“Q. You’ve never been a patrolman or anything like that? A. No. Q. Didn’t go through police academy? A. No. . . . Q. By the way, how old are you? A. Twenty-two.”);

infra notes 111–112 (discussing the preparation of this tape); infra Chapter 13, notes 150–151 and accompanying text.

Robert Klemp, Corpus Christi Police Lieutenant, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 376–80 (explaining that all radio and telephonic dispatcher and 911 traffic was recorded by the Corpus Christi Police Department on a 20-channel master tape; each day’s recordings were saved for only 45 days and then were recorded over; the only portion of that master tape for February 4, 1983 that Lt. Klemp was asked to and did preserve for presentation at the Lopez/DeLuna trial was the tape “of the [911] call made in reporting a man with a knife at 2602 SPID” and that tape “ends at the point where that [911] call ends” when the attacker hung up the phone);

see infra Chapter 11, notes 150-154 and accompanying text; infra Chapter 13, notes 195–203 and accompanying text.

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 34 (answering a question by lead prosecutor Steven Schiwetz about events during the manhunt, Escochea responds, “it was kind of a hectic situation as far as radio traffic was concerned, as you can recall on the tape”; because no tape of police traffic was played at trial, Escochea must have been referring to some point before the July 1983 trial when he and Schiwetz reviewed the manhunt tape);

see 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 34 (“Q. You said that they said the person was running to the rear of the store. Who are you getting that information from? A. Several units in the field. . . . I would really have to listen to the [manhunt] tape to be able to identify the voices that were telling me what was going on.”);

see also Robert Klemp, Corpus Christi Police Lieutenant, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 379–80 (describing the process used to extract the portion of the master tape recording Wanda Lopez’s 911 phone call to Escochea, which also probably was used to extract the portion on Escochea’s tape starting with Wanda Lopez’s call and ending after DeLuna’s arrest: “The original [master] tape was placed in file in the file cabinet and I separated it from our normal file tapes for evidence purposes and I made this cassette, this cassette tape off a cassette recorder which reproduced it off the master tape.”);

see infra Chapter 11, notes 195–203 and accompanying text; infra Chapter 13, notes 150–154 and accompanying text.

James S. Liebman’s Notes on Sita Sovin and Lauren Eskenazi’s Interview with Jesse Escochea, Corpus Christi Police Dispatcher (Feb. 11, 2005) at 1 (describing interviews during which Jesse Escochea disclosed that he had a copy of the 42.5 minute tape and then produced it for the private investigators: Escochea “[l]ooked for tape; couldn’t find it; 1 other place. He found it. Pulled out the tape [which was labeled] 2/4/83 homicide.”).

Around the same time as police made a copy of the 911 call and manhunt portions of the police master tape as the July 1983 trial approached, DeLuna’s lawyers subpoenaed police records “of all incoming calls and outgoing broadcasts” on the “whereabouts of any suspect or suspicious persons” after the assault on Wanda Lopez on the evening of February 4th. Command to Summon Capt. Jones, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t, Texas v. De Luna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 12, 1983) at 1 (commanding Capt. Jones to produce “transcripts of all incoming calls and outgoing broadcasts made concerning the reports and whereabouts of any suspect or suspicious persons reported via the [Corpus Christi Police Dep’t] arising out of the robbery . . . on 02/04/1983.”).

The department never produced the manhunt tape or played it for the jury at DeLuna’s trial. Defense lawyers remembered being told by police at the time that the radio transmissions from the search had been recorded over and lost. Transcribed Videotape Interview with Hector De Peña, Jr., Trial Lawyer for Carlos DeLuna, in Corpus Christi (Feb. 23, 2005) at 13:12:14–13:13:10 (“I know we had a hard time, when we originally tried to get those tapes, or a tape, we were hard pressed to do it because they kept telling us, by the time we were trying to find evidence and subpoena evidence, they kept trying to say the police only keep this log tape for 30 days, then it’s erased and they start all over again.”);

see infra Chapter 11, notes 195–203 and accompanying text; infra Chapter 13, notes 150–154 and accompanying text.

James S. Liebman’s Notes on Sita Sovin and Lauren Eskenazi’s Interview with Jesse Escochea, Corpus Christi Police Dispatcher (Feb. 11, 2005) at 1 (“Jesse runs Street Heat Production Company. Used to be employed by LAPD. Production—reality TV shows on cops and firemen [sold] to foreigners. Also an actor. Guest spots on TV shows.”);

see Bryan Dakss, Urban Shootout Raises Eyebrows, cbsnews.com (May 10, 2005), http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/05/10/earlyshow/main694133.shtml?tag=mncol;lst;1 (linking to video of gang shootout in Compton, CA filmed by Jesse Escochea); Cindy Tumiel, Convicted Killer Executed After Courts Reject Appeals, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Dec. 7, 1989, at B2 (noting that Escochea was then employed as a Police Dispatcher for the LAPD);

Anderson Cooper 360° (CNN television broadcast Mar. 10, 2005) (transcript available at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0503/10/acd.01.html; Jesse Escochea—Filmography, IMDb.com, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0260383/ (last visited Feb. 13, 2012) (noting Escochea’s work as technical advisor for three TV series, and miscellaneous acting roles in eleven television shows); Jesse Escochea—Biography, TV.com, http://www.tv.com/people/jesse-escochea/ (last visited Feb. 13, 2012) (noting Escochea’s role on TV series ‘Life’).

See infra Chapter 11, notes 195–203 and accompanying text; see also James S. Liebman’s Notes on Sita Sovin and Lauren Eskenazi’s Interview with Jesse Escochea, Corpus Christi Police Dispatcher (Feb. 11, 2005) at 1 (interviewer’s notes addressing question why Escochea took the tape when he left his job with the Corpus Christi Police Department and moved to Los Angeles: “That kind of guy; on call she’s murdered; sensationalist”);

Cindy Tumiel, Convicted Killer Executed After Courts Reject Appeals, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Dec. 7, 1989, at 1 (quoting Escochea, then an LAPD dispatcher, in a newspaper article about DeLuna: Escochea “recalls the event as one of the most memorable in his 13 years as a dispatcher”).

James S. Liebman’s Notes on Sita Sovin and Lauren Eskenazi’s Interview with Jesse Escochea, Corpus Christi Police Dispatcher (Feb. 11, 2005) at 1–2 (“They [police department] didn’t have emergency calls. Instead, 2 people monitor[ed] all calls—no [distinction made between] emergency and [non-]emergency calls. He wasn’t supposed to be answering calls—He was dispatche[r]. It was very busy so he happened to answer this flashing light . . . .; “Button[] kept lighting up and phone people weren’t picking up so he picked up.”).

Bruno Mejia, Corpus Christi Police Officer, Supplementary Report (Feb. 4, 1983) at 3 (reporting what Arsuagas told him when they arrived at the gas station: they “were together in their car driving into the Phase III parking lot at 2632 SPID . . . and they both advised me that they observed a Hispanic male, approximately 5’7” to 5’9”, dark hair”);

John Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Statement to Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) at 1 (describing “a Hispanic Male, about 5’8”, approximately 170 lbs, having wavy medium leng[th] dark hair”);

John Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A at 243 (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 256 ( “Q. Now, do you recall in your statement that you say something to the effect of, ‘As I was pulling into the parking lot, I noticed a Hispanic male about five-eight; approximately 170 pounds; having wavy, medium length dark hair . . . . A. Yes, sir, I do. Q. This statement . . . was fresh in your mind as to what you had just seen a few hours earlier; is that correct, sir? A. That’s correct.”).

John Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Statement to Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) at 1 (describing the man running east, away from the Sigmor station: “he was wearing a light colored shirt; dark colored slacks”);

Bruno Mejia, Corpus Christi Police Officer, Supplementary Report (Feb. 4, 1983) at 3 (reporting that the Arsuagas “were together in their car driving into the Phase III parking lot at 2632 SPID . . . and they both advised me that they observed a Hispanic male, approximately 5’7” to 5’9”, dark hair, wearing a white long-sleeve shirt untucked and unbuttoned, running across the Phase III parking lot”);

John Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Pretrial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 20, 1983) at 68 (describing the man as “wearing dark slacks like a uniform-type with a light colored shirt, long sleeve”);

Julie Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Pretrial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 20, 1983) at 92 (describing “dark pants like, you know, work pants”; “a white shirt that was open, you know, because I could see the side of it, kind of flapping back a little bit, might not have been completely unbuttoned, but close to the bottom it was”; “the sleeve was rolled up, it was white, you know, blouse-style shirt, you know, something like what you [a lawyer in court] have on”; “white dress shirt”; “that type of shirt”);

John Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 251, 256 (“Q. How was he dressed that particular night when you saw him running across that parking lot? A. He had like uniform slacks on with a light colored, long sleeve shirt.”; “light colored shirt; dark colored slacks”);

Julie Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 349:

Q. Were you able to see what kind of pants he was wearing or what color they were?

A. Uh-huh.

Q. What color were they?

A. I mean I can’t say the exact color, but they were either black or dark blue . . . .

Q. And what color was the shirt, if you recall?

A. White.

Q. Was it a T-shirt, a long sleeve shirt, what?

A. It was like a shirt that you [a lawyer in court] would wear with—kind of like—you know, a blouse and the sleeves were folded up and it was untucked and, you know, because I could see the side of it, you know, going beside him as he was running.

Bruno Mejia, Corpus Christi Police Officer, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 69–70 (reporting a “third description” of the shirt, which he received from “[t]he Arsuagas, Mr. and Mrs. Arsuaga” and was of a “white long sleeve shirt, untucked”).

Julie Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Pretrial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 20, 1983) at 92 (“[T]he sleeve was rolled up [part way up his arm], it was white, you know, blouse-style shirt, you know, something like what you [a lawyer in court] have on . . . .”).

Julie Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Pretrial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 20, 1983) at 92 (“[A] white shirt that was open, you know, because I could see the side of it, kind of flapping back a little bit, might not have been completely unbuttoned, but close to the bottom it was . . . .”);

Julie Arsuaga, Witness to Man Running Near Shamrock Gas Station, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 349 (“[I]t was untucked and, you know, because I could see the side of it, you know, going beside him as he was running.”).

Chapter 2
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