HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 4
Page: 4 of 9
Text: A | A | A
All Chapter 4 Footnotes

There was no blood on the counter near the adding machine.53 Wanda had apparently started bleeding at the gas-pump console on her right. There were drops of blood on its keyboard, and blood had cascaded down its front to the shelf. A thicker pool had collected along the edge of the shelf, evidently transferred directly from Wanda, and had dripped onto packs of spark plugs in a box on the floor below the shelf and onto the floor itself.54

Blood also had caked on the front of the black metal cash drawer. Cash bills, flecked with blood, were strewn on top of the open drawer and on the floor beneath it.55

Stange couldn’t tell whether the man had stabbed Wanda across the counter as she stood near the gas console, or whether he’d stabbed her after jumping the counter. The store manager was sure of two things, though. Wanda would have given the man the money the instant he asked for it,56 and she did try to give him money from the cash drawer after she’d been stabbed. To Stange, that meant the money wasn’t the reason for the attack57—another inkling that this was no ordinary robbery.58

Most ghastly of all were Wanda’s bloody handprints on the window above the cash drawer, as if she’d tried to reach outside for help. Stange would never forget wiping the prints off the window.59

* * * * *

Although Stange didn’t know it, police also found a large brown lock-blade buck knife with gold metal trim underneath the cash drawer. The blade had blood on the tip and flesh on the rest of it.60

Years later, a forensic expert from England looked over the police photos. It was his opinion that Wanda pulled the knife out of her breast while standing at the gas console and cash drawer, causing the blood to gush.61

image

Figure 8: Police photographs of the southeast corner of the clerk’s area behind the counter of the gas station store, taken at around 9:00 p.m. on February 4, 1983. The knife is under the cash drawer in the bottom-right photograph.

* * * * *

It looked to Stange like Wanda had next tried to escape through the flap door. The only part of the floor without much blood on it began a foot or two from the cash drawer and ran back towards the counter opening.62 Wanda must have rushed quickly across that space, shedding her left sandal—another rare item with no blood on it.63 But the attacker evidently grabbed her at the passageway and wrestled her back towards the middle of the clerk’s area.64 Wanda obviously resisted, grasping at anything she could get her hands on, hemorrhaging blood.

The countertop and apron near the opening were smeared with blood, and the apron was spattered with it along the bottom.65 In her desperation to find a handhold, Wanda had swept pens, typing paper, napkins, a calendar, a box of sugar packs, and a Sigmor bag onto the floor, which she and her attacker had then kicked all over the place.66 Everything on the floor was wet with drops and puddles of blood.67

The First National Bank calendar hit the floor near the flap doorway, stuck on the just-ended month of January. On the calendar was a pool of light-colored blood with rays of spatter emanating out from a chewed wad of pink gum. Next to the calendar were large dark drops of blood on the floor, and several even darker pools were on the Sigmor bag next to that. It looked like Wanda coughed up blood onto the calendar as her wound leaked blood onto the floor and bag.68

See Crime Scene Photograph 25500009, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

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

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

Crime Scene Photograph 25500010, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

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

Crime Scene Photograph 25500016, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500019, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

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

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

Crime Scene Photograph 25500010, 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).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005), at 17:21:05–17:22:08:

If someone was to come in and want to ask or tell her that “This is a robbery, I want your money,” she wouldn’t take that as a joke. She would just hand them the money, or she would just hand them the whole cash drawer, on top of the counter and say, “Take it, just take it, leave.” She wouldn’t try to struggle with anybody or put up a fight. She’s trying to raise her daughter. She wanted to do her job and go home. She would just give them the money. I’m sure of it, without a doubt. I’m sure we discussed it. In a joking manner, she said, “I’ll just give them the whole thing.” I hate to say it like this, but I know we joked about it. “Just give it to them, whatever it is.”

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 17:20:42–17:21:05, 17:22:12–17:22:35 (“No doubt. She would have given . . . absolutely, she would have given them” the money; noting that Wanda’s daughter “was the thing that drove her—She wanted a better life for her daughter than she’d gotten at that point. It was all about her daughter.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 16:52:20–16:58:45:

After she’d been stabbed, there was handprints or there was blood handprints on the cash drawer, just as if, after she’d been stabbed—and that’s why I say it didn’t look like a robbery—because after she’d been stabbed it’s like she tried to give him the cash. It wasn’t about the cash . . . . I remember seeing money in the cash drawer . . . [and] some bills or change on the counter, like she tried to give this to him on the counter, and it was just totally passed over. There was bills on the floor like she’d taken it . . . . There was money everywhere like it wasn’t a robbery, like she tried to force the money on the perpetrator. But it wasn’t about money; it was about something else, because he didn’t take it. . . . [S]he had handprints . . . the cash drawer was open, or she had opened it later, after she had been stabbed. That’s why I still contend it wasn’t about a robbery.

The blood on the cash drawer (which could also, possibly, be a handprint) is visible in several photographs: Crime Scene Photograph 2550006, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500010, 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).

See also Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983) at 3 (“The cash register tray, which as mentioned before was pulled out, two five dollar bills laid across the area where the coins are deposited and kept separate from each other. I observed that the coins were still in their respective slots in the tray.”).

See supra note 56.

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

[T]here were handprints on the glass above the cash area, like she was trying to get somebody’s attention . . . [There was] a hand print or multiple hand prints on the glass that would have been right in front of her, right [above] the cash register where she would have looked out towards the pumps. There was a handprint or there was two handprints . . . 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 seem to recall . . . 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.

Crime Scene Photograph 25500001, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500002, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500010, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

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

Crime Scene Photograph 25500016, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500017, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500018, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500027, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

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

Steven Fowler, Corpus Christi Police Sergeant, Supplementary Report (Feb. 4, 1983) at 1 (“I was notified by Sgt. Escobedo . . . that a weapon had been recovered inside the store itself. The weapon was also taken in by Sgt. Escobedo.”; filling in the box on the form for “weapon” with the words, “large folding knife”; attaching a diagram of the scene, which indicates that the knife was “found under cash drawer by Sgt. Escobedo” and locates the knife on the floor along the south wall of the cashier’s area);

Joel Infante, Corpus Christi Police Identification Technician, Field Investigation Report (February 4, 1983) at 5–6 (documenting discovery of a stainless steel “Pakistan” lock-blade knife with “some type of congealed body tissue, fatty substance” on it: “A knife and a pack of Winstons cigarettes were first photographed where found. After the photos were taken the items were processed for latent prints.”);

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983) (noting that “[a] stainless steel lockblade knife was also found on the floor, near the left hand side of the safe, near where the penny and penny wrapper were found. This knife was also processed for prints by Sgt. Infante, however with negative results. . . . [T]he knife did have some type of substance on it, it appeared to be some type of body tissue substance, it resembled some type of fatty type substance, it was clear in color and appeared to have congeled [sic] in areas”; including in list of evidence seized at the scene a “stainless steel lockblade knife, [b]rown wood handle with gold colored tips on either side of the wood handle, ‘Pakistan’ brand has some type of matter—possible body tissue substance on it. Found underneath the opened cash tray, knife was on the floor next to the side of the store safe.”);

Joel Infante, Corpus Christi Police Identification Technician, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 204:

Q. Let me show you what’s marked as State’s Exhibit Number 30 . . . and ask you if you have ever seen a knife the same or similar to that one?

A. Yes, sir, I did.

Q. Is that similar to the knife that you examined out there at Sigmore Station that night?

A. It’s very similar.

Q. Is it similar to the one that you were unable to get prints off out there?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Why were you unable to get prints off that knife, if you can tell us?

A. The—the blade of the knife was—was very wet, it had some kind of substance on it, blood and some kind of pulp or something that came out from—the rest of it . . . .

See also Joel Infante, Corpus Christi Police Identification Technician, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 203–05 (describing the knife and the blood and flesh on it).

Allan Bayle, Draft Statement on Handling of Shamrock Gas Station Crime Scene (Nov. 8, 2004) (concluding that “the knife probably remained in [Wanda Lopez’s] body [when she was stabbed] and she possibly pulled the knife out herself,” with “fatal consequences” because “the blood started to flow more” and because the floor became slippery.”);

see Allan Bayle—Training and Experience, Independent Fingerprint Expert Website, http://onin.com/ukridges/#Training (last visited May 12, 2012) (describing Bayle’s background in Forensic Science since joining the Metropolitan Police Service at New Scotland Yard in 1975 as a fingerprint officer; noting that Bayle has “successfully completed advanced fingerprint courses and [has] become a recognized expert since 1981” and has lectured at Scientific Support College for the Metropolitan Police Training Establishment; also noting that Bayle has been “employed as an independent consultant and adviser on all fingerprint and forensic scene examination matters”).

Crime Scene Photograph 25500005, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500007, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500008, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500010, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500019, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

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

Crime Scene Photograph 25500005, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983).

Bruno Mejia, Corpus Christi Police Officer, Supplementary Report (Feb. 4, 1983) at 1–2 (“Mr. Baker . . . advised me that, as he was getting ready to pump gas into his car, he saw the clerk inside the store struggling with a Hispanic male . . . . Mr. Baker advised me that he then observed the subject attempt to carry the clerk into the back room of the store. . . . As he [Baker] neared the [back room] door, Mr. Baker advised that the subject released the girl and walked out of the store.”);

Kevan Baker, Eyewitness to Attack on Wanda Lopez, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 267–68:

Q. And what did you see?

A. I saw a man and a woman fighting.

Q. Now, when you saw them fighting, how were they fighting? Were they sitting there duking it out or what?

A. No he was pulling her hair and I thought they were playing at first, that was my first impression, boyfriend/girlfriend.

Q. And was there anything to change your mind about that?

A. Yeah, the longer—longer I stood there, the more seconds I stood there, I realized they weren’t playing.

Q. Did either one of them appear to be trying to accomplish some aim?

A. Yes, the gentleman was trying to—definitely pulling the lady by the hair, trying to—apparently pull her through the door into the rear [room] of the store.

See Crime Scene Photograph 25500005, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500008, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

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

Crime Scene Photograph 25500015, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500019, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

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

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

Crime Scene Photograph 25500005, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500007, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500008, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500019, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

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

Crime Scene Photograph 25500030, 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):

I saw that there was a trail of blood, and foot prints in blood, leading from behind the counter, heading toward the door, this trail of blood was approximately 132½” from the door edge to the lower right hand corner of the counter, it varied in width from 14” to 19” in different locations along the way. The trail led back behind the check out counter where the whole area was in total disarray and more blood was found in the area.

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”; “[T]he 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.”; “[T]he 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 . . . .”).

See Crime Scene Photograph 25500007, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500010, 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).

See Crime Scene Photograph 25500005, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500008, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500015, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983);

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

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

Chapter 4
Page: 4 of 9