HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 4
Page: 3 of 9
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All Chapter 4 Footnotes

Stange also remembered the potholes and bad lighting in the parking lot that night, and the look of terror on Kevan Baker’s face when police coaxed him over to the squad car to look at the suspect.35

What Stange most vividly recalled was the scene inside the store when the police let him in. “It’s awful to say,” Stange admitted later, but he was curious to get inside. He thought Wanda could handle herself in a robbery. He wanted to figure out why she was stabbed.36

When Detective Escobedo let Stange and Gonzalez in, she held the door for them and told them to step around the blood and not touch anything.37 Stange scanned the familiar store. It was laid out in a narrow rectangle, with the long side facing out onto the gas pumps and parking lot.38 That side was all glass, with the front door in the middle. To his right as he entered the door were two aisles of merchandise, which seemed to be intact.39

Six feet to the left of the front door, running the width of the store, was the clerk’s counter. It had butcher-block veneer and a painted plywood apron down to the floor. At the far end, a piece of the counter top and apron were cut out and hinged to cabinets along the back wall, forming a lift-top in the counter and “flap door” through the apron.40 In the backmost corner of the clerk’s area behind the counter was a storeroom that jutted out into the alleyway behind the store. Stange noticed that the storeroom door was open.41

The whole side of the store to Stange’s left was in disarray, from the front door to the counter and behind it. The lift-top and flap door were supposed to be secured shut by a hidden slide bolt, but police had found them open.42 Outside the opening, crashed into a rack of hats, was the clerk’s chair on rollers, with Wanda’s sweater hung on the back. The chair was supposed to remain behind the counter.43

Escobedo brought Stange and Gonzalez behind the counter.44 They could see cash bills in the open cash drawer and on the floor, and she wanted to know how much was missing.45

The trail of Wanda’s bloody footprints in front of the counter was sickening enough, but Stange was stunned by what was behind the counter. There was blood everywhere. Not just drops and streaks, but puddles and mists of it and whole sections of the floor smeared with it.46

This was nothing like any robbery Stange had ever heard of, and he worked hard to reconstruct what had happened.47 On the counter, on a laminated sales tax chart taped next to the clerk’s adding machine, was an unopened pack of Winston cigarettes. The cigarette case sat on the counter, flush against the window to the clerk’s right as she faced the customers. Between the case and the adding machine was the “Tootsie [Roll] I love you” Valentine display.48

Stange guessed that after entering the store, the man must have turned left between a stack of generic cigarettes by the window and the rack of hats further inside the store, and headed straight for the name-brand cigarette case on the counter—and for Wanda.49

To make the sale, she would’ve been standing behind the counter and adding machine, in the corner or the clerk’s area where the counter meets the front window. Below the counter to her right was the telephone. Above it, on a shelf running along the front window, sat a white plastic console controlling the gas pumps. Just to its right, underneath the same shelf and behind the clerk, was a black metal cash drawer where she could make change.50

The location of the cigarette pack put the man on the customer side of the counter at the adding machine. But Stange could see that a fierce struggle had taken place behind the counter as Wanda bled to death.51 “The gentleman,” Stange decided, must have “jumped over the counter” to get at Wanda. She would’ve had the flap door closed and latched from the inside, underneath the counter.52

In regard to Stange’s recollection of Baker’s demeanor before and during the show-up identification, see Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 15:44:55–15:45:56, 15:48:40–15:49:16, 16:11:48–16:12:00, 16:12:10–16:12:55 (“[W]hen [Baker] was summoned over to the car to identify the person that, he was extremely scared and he did not want—the witness did not want to go to the car to identify him . . . and be that close to that individual, and I believe the police had to do some coaxing to get him over to the car . . . .”; Baker “was terrified to go identify this person”; “But I remember [Baker] as being the witness. He was standing at the front of the car, and he didn’t want to get any closer. He was terrified, he just did not want to be involved.”);

supra Chapter 3, notes 75–81, 84–85 and accompanying text (citing other sources confirming Stange’s recollections of Baker’s demeanor during the show-up identification). In regard to Stange’s recollection of the conditions in the parking lot that night, see Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 15:31:27–15:35:26, 15:37:15–15:38:09, 15:47:30–15:48:00 (describing the identification of a suspect in the back seat of a police car as police were illuminating his face with flashlights);

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 15:56:00–15:56:35 (describing potholes);

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 16:09:47–16:11:48 (describing poor lighting in parking lot).

Also documenting the poor lighting conditions in the parking lot are the video images reproduced supra Chapter 2, Figure 2.

See Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 17:24:20–17:26:10 (“It’s awful to say, we were curious to get into the store, to get back and be part of that again, just to get into the store and see it”);

see Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 16:36:15–16:37:50, 17:32:50–17:36:35 (“To me, it just did not sound like a robbery. It sounded more along the lines of just an act of anger or violence.”; discussing his and others’ speculation about the motive for the killing, including a killing for hire and a jilted former boyfriend).

See Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 16:23:37–16:28:14:

But it wasn’t too much longer, 10, 15, 20 minutes maybe at the most that they summoned [us to enter the store]. They wanted to know what we could identify as being stolen or damaged or what was out of place. Both Pete and myself did enter the location at that point. We were escorted by somebody, somebody investigating, or crime scene—We weren’t allowed to touch anything. The door was opened for us. We weren’t allowed to touch anything in relation to the counter or anything. But I believe that there was some blood near the door, we were asked to walk around that. We did walk through that door pass-through area to the back counter area. I remember both of us standing there looking, and they were asking us for information as to what was taken or what did we visually see, could anything be out of place. . . . [T]hey wanted an idea how much money was taken, because there was money on the floor. There was rolls of change, and actually money on the floor. If I’m not mistaken there was still money in the cash drawer. . . . They wanted to know the value of what was taken. Could we determine, that night, what was taken?

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 17:16:40–17:18:38 (“We were escorted in by a police officer, investigating officer, detective, crime scene investigator, somebody. It was either one or two individuals. . . . We were told not to touch anything. We didn’t touch the door handle, they did that for us. . . . We were asked to go around the blood and go behind the counter area. They wanted us to visually look and see if anything was missing or out of place. There was a lot out of place . . .”; “approximately 15 minutes” had “elapsed between the departure of the patrol car with the suspect in the back [seat] and [Stange’s] entry into the store”);

Tamara Theiss’s Notes on Interview with Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases (Feb. 27, 2005) at 2:

As the lead investigator, my first responsibility was to secure the crime scene. I think I responded around 7 p.m. [sic] to the scene, and it took me at least three hours to process everything [sic]. I had to do everything myself. Back then, we didn’t have any crime scene technicians or equipment. The responding investigator had to do everything on his or her own. I remember that all we had was a little kit we carried around in the trunks of our cars. We didn’t have any police tape to secure the scenes. We just had to yell at people to stay back and not step on our crime scenes. I think I had the help of a fingerprint technician, but no one else.

Crime Scene Photograph 25500022, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) (showing the view from outside of store, including the glass front and partly brick west side of the store; Baker’s Cougar is in the foreground);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500033, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) (providing a close-up view of the glass front of the store with signs and merchandise obstructing the view in and out; the bloody doorway and sidewalk are in the foreground);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500034, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) (providing a wider angle view of the front of the store from beyond the gas pumps; in front of the store, Wanda Lopez is about to be placed on a gurney).

Crime Scene Photograph 25500028, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983).

Crime Scene Photograph 25500014, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500021, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500028, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983) (“The checkout counter is approximately 18” wide and approximately 71 in length, there is a lift top counter, and this is approximately 25” in width [length].”);

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 15:42:25–15:43:43 (“The counter was 4, 5 feet long . . . There was a flap door, or we had a counter door that closed.”).

Crime Scene Photograph 25500026, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500030, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500037, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500038, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Diagram, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (undated) (showing the storage room jutting out from the gas station) (reprinted infra as Figure 10);

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 15:42:25–15:43:43 (“The counter was 4, 5 feet long, then there was a back room behind us [i.e., behind the store clerks, when they were facing the customers], directly opposite the window. There was a flap door, or we had a counter door that closed.”).

Crime Scene Photograph 25500014, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500021, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500028, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983).

Crime Scene Photograph 25500003, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 255000021, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983) at 2 (“I observed a roll-about stool, black and gray in color, the chair had roller casters on it, was pulled out in front of the check out counter, it was closer to the coolers, between the coolers and a baseball cap display. The victim’s multicolored sweater, was still hanging on the stool. I later learned that the chair is always supposed to be behind the counter.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 16:23:37–16:26:16;

see Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 17:16:40–17:17:40, 17:24:20 (“We did walk through that door pass-through area to the back counter area. I remember both of us standing there looking, and they were asking us for information as to what was taken or what did we visually see, could anything be out of place.”; “[T]hey wanted an idea how much money was taken, because there was money on the floor . . . .”; “We were asked to go around the blood and go behind the counter area. They wanted us to visually look and see if anything was missing or out of place. There was a lot out of place . . . .”; “[W]e were escorted in to take a look behind the counter . . . .”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 16:23:37–16:26:16;

see Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 17:16:40–17:17:40, 17:24:20 (“We did walk through that door pass-through area to the back counter area. I remember both of us standing there looking, and they were asking us for information as to what was taken or what did we visually see, could anything be out of place.”; “[T]hey wanted an idea how much money was taken, because there was money on the floor . . . .”; “We were asked to go around the blood and go behind the counter area. They wanted us to visually look and see if anything was missing or out of place. There was a lot out of place . . . .”; “[W]e were escorted in to take a look behind the counter . . . .”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 16:54:30–16:55:40, 16:56:10–16:58:45:

There was blood. . . . There was blood behind the counter, on the counter, by the windows, by the flap counter. There was droplets on the door frame, on the glass. I believe there were handprints on the glass above the cash area, like she was trying to get somebody’s attention, I believe. Not only drops. . . . There was a considerable amount of blood, because I do recall having to clean it up and wipe everything that had blood on it. . . .There was blood behind the counter. The area behind the counter, in particular, was in disarray as if a struggle had taken place. There were objects, there was something on the floor that was out of place, like it had been tossed there. . . . I know there was blood on the counter, behind the counter, on the cash drawer. I seem to remember a hand print or multiple hand prints on the glass that would have been right in front of her, right below the cash register where she would have looked out towards the pumps. There was a handprint or there was two handprints.

See Tamara Theiss’s Notes on Interview with Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases (Feb. 27, 2005) at 2 (“I remember coming into the gas station. Ms. Lopez was already being treated by the emergency response people. She couldn’t talk to anyone. She had been stabbed over and over again [sic—there was only one stab wound]. I remember that there was blood everywhere inside the gas station.”).

See, e.g., Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 15:42:25–15:43:43, 17:16:40–17:17:40, 16:39:50–16:40:30 (“The counter was 4, 5 feet long, then there was a back room behind us, directly opposite the window. There was a flap door, or we had a counter door that closed. It was to remain closed. The gentleman . . . jumped over the counter, the counter was closed, and he was in the back area with Wanda.”; “The scene . . . was in disarray. Behind the counter area . . ., there was certainly a struggle… the individual has come over the counter and the area behind the counter is in disarray. It’s not just disorganized; there’s been a good struggle behind the counter.”);

see also Stange’s other descriptions of the scene, supra notes 8, 36, 45; infra notes 50, 56, 81–95, 114, 115. The description that follows is based partly on Stange’s account in his videotaped interview and partly on police photographs and reports describing the scene he surveyed when Detective Escobedo brought him into the store.

See Crime Scene Photograph 25500026, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) (showing the back of the cigarette case seen from inside the clerk’s area, with Winston, Marlboro and Camel packs visible);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500009, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) (showing view from inside the clerk’s area behind the counter of the Winston pack on the counter, sales tax chart, adding machine, and Tootsie Roll Valentine’s Day display);

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

Crime Scene Photograph 25500021, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) (same, but shot using a wider angle from the customer’s side of the counter);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500028, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) (providing a view of the Winston pack and adding machine from inside the clerk’s area).

See Crime Scene Photograph 2550004, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) (showing the generic cigarettes inside the door near the window);

Crime Scene Photograph 2550006, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) (showing the brand-name cigarette case);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500021, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) (showing the Pepsi cases near the door, the rack of hats for sale, and the cigarette case);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500024, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) (showing the Pepsi cases and generic cigarettes near the doorway);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500028, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) (showing the Pepsi cases and generic cigarettes near the doorway and the name-brand cigarette case on the clerk’s counter);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500033, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) (showing the Pepsi cases and generic cigarettes near the door);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500028, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) (showing the rack of hats for sale, with the clerk’s chair on rollers pushed into it).

Crime Scene Photograph 25500006, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) (showing the black telephone below the counter, the white console to control the pumps, and the black metal cash drawer);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500010, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) (showing a wider perspective of the black metal cash drawer and gas pump console);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500013, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) (showing the corner of the counter, with the black telephone underneath, the gas pump console above and to the right, and the cash drawer further to the right);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500031, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) (showing the area below the counter and below the shelf underneath the front window, including the telephone and metal cash drawer);

see also supra Chapter 1, notes 7–10 and accompanying text; infra Figure 8.

See Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 16:36:15–16:37:50, 16:39:50–16:40:30, 16:53:33–16:54:30, 16:56:10–16:58:45, 17:16:40–17:17:40 (“The scene . . . was in disarray. Behind the counter area . . . there was certainly a struggle . . . the individual has come over the counter and the area behind the counter is in disarray. It’s not just disorganized; there’s been a good struggle behind the counter.”; “The area behind the counter was like a struggle had taken place. . . . I believe there was stuff scattered behind the counter, like it had been thrown or rampaged through. It was just items in disarray.”; “The area behind the counter, in particular, was in disarray as if a struggle had taken place. There were objects, there was something on the floor that was out of place, like it had been tossed there.”; “We were asked to go around the blood and go behind the counter area. They wanted us to visually look and see if anything was missing or out of place. There was a lot out of place . . . .”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 15:42:25–15:43:43, 16:39:50–16:40:30, 17:34:32–17:36:23 (describing his reconstruction of events: “[T]the individual has come over the counter . . . .”; “The counter was 4, 5 feet long, then there was a back room behind us, directly opposite the window. There was a flap door, or we had a counter door that closed. It was to remain closed. The gentleman . . . jumped over the counter, the counter was closed, and he was in the back area with Wanda.”; “He hopped over the counter, a struggle, and he killed her, ultimately.”).

Chapter 4
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