HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 4
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All Chapter 4 Footnotes

Every once in awhile, the adjusted total this week would be greater than last week. That might happen if the Coke truck driver accidentally dropped off one more case of Sprite than he was supposed to, and one more than Coca-Cola billed the Sigmor for.99

Usually, though, the total this week would be less than last week. That happened for a lot of reasons. Customers pumped gas and drove off without paying, which was common in those days. And there were shoplifters. Or the Coke driver left one too few cases of Sprite. Or most likely, a clerk gave too much change, or slipped a fiver into his own pocket now and then.100 The store could also come up short from a robbery.

The one thing you could not tell from the inventory, Stange explained to the investigator, was whether you came up short because someone took some money from the cash drawer or because someone shoplifted something or a deliveryman shorted you on merchandise.101 The station didn’t use a cash register with a paper tape record of all sales, and there was no other way of tracking the flow of cash. The clerks made change in their heads or with an adding machine.102

Years later, an accounting professor from Chicago reviewed the papers Stange had put together when he did his inventory that night. The professor confirmed Stange’s explanation. Given how the Sigmor kept its records, “they can’t know how much cash was missing . . . because they can’t know how much cash was there” before the attack.103

Stange found that the store was short $166.86 since the last inventory. That wasn’t an unusual amount. For that time period, Stange recalled, it was an acceptable loss.104

For Stange, the more important facts were that he found 55 dollars in loose cash at the store when he cleaned up, and that Wanda made her last drop-slot deposit about a half hour before the attack.105 Since Wanda wouldn’t want to have more than 60 dollars in the cash drawer after dark on a Friday night, he guessed the robber couldn’t have left with more than a $20 bill or two $10 bills.106

Stange remembered staring at the numbers. “You’ve got to be kidding,” he thought.107 For 20 dollars—for the minuscule amount that was gone—it wasn’t about a robbery. The cash was available to Wanda’s attacker. It was there. And she had tried to give it to him. “I just don’t believe he ever actually took any cash,” Stange told the investigator.108

Stange told district supervisor Jim Manning the same thing when he arrived at the gas station that night. Stange couldn’t understand it as a robbery, because it wasn’t. The money was still there. It didn’t make sense.109 “Was [Stange] ever asked . . . by anybody in law enforcement” what he thought had gone down? “No.” After that night, the police talked only to Manning and Gonzalez, never to the store’s actual manager, Stange.110

* * * * *

A few minutes after the detective sent Stange and Gonzalez back outside of the store, she and the photographer announced they were done.111 “It’s all yours,” they said, and left.112

It was ten o’clock, the store’s usual closing time, barely an hour after the detective got inside the store, and less than two hours after Wanda was stabbed.113 Stange and a manager from another store scrubbed the place down, put everything in order, and ran the inventory. Although Stange didn’t get much sleep, he opened the store the next morning at six, the usual time.114

He was astonished by how quickly the investigation had ended.115 “It’s like, ‘we got the pictures, we got the guy, let’s just get out of here. We’re done.’” If it was his life at stake, Stange thought, he wouldn’t like it done that way.116

See Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Joe Hinajosa, Former Assistant Manager at the Sigmor Station (Oct. 25, 2004) at 2 (stating that he was the assistant manager whom Wanda Lopez replaced when he left and explaining why the inventory so often indicated that there was less merchandise and money than expected):

The cash register was constantly short. This was either because of gas drive offs; employees who took cokes etc.; employees who took cash (or credit cards). There was no machine which kept count of credit. Therefore, the purchases paid for with a credit card were tallied with an adding machine—not the cash register. Sometimes there were mistakes related to counting the money. For example, you might just ‘miss a bundle of 20s.’ Employees did not keep a drop sheet to record the amount of cash in the drop box on the floor. If the cash register was off more than $100—employees had to take a polygraph test.

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Carmen Taylor, Former Employee of Shamrock Gas Station (Oct. 24, 2004) at 1, 2 (“People from Wolfy’s came into the station store to buy beer. Carmen had a couple of incidents where a couple of guys stole beer. . . . Carmen had a lot of ‘run offs’—where people did not pay.”);

James S. Liebman’s Notes on Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Interview with Carmen Taylor, Former Employee of Shamrock Gas Station (Nov. 7, 2004) at 1 (noting that, at the Sigmor store on SPID, there was “always money taken by EEs [employees]” from the cash drawer).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 15:27:50–15:29:10, 16:32:14–end;

see Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 16:33:10–16:34:20 (explaining the inventory process repeated once a week, “Everything was done by a physical count. It was a time when there wasn’t a thousand items in the store. It [the inventory sheet] was 14 pages. And everything was done line by line: Miller Light, Coors, 6-packs. You tallied it up, you took in what you received, and then you got a quantity of each item. That included candy bars, spark plugs, oil filters, bags of ice, everything.”);

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 16:33:10–16:34:20, 16:43:38–16:45:00:

We couldn’t determine a significant loss of cash at that point. So when it was all said done, we couldn’t determine that a substantial amount for a robbery—that is, a true robbery, when somebody takes all the money and runs. We couldn’t determine that there was an actual, physical robbery. There was some loss, but whether that was just accumulations of mistakes through clerks or whether merchandise didn’t actually come into the store from vendors was unknown]. There’s a certain percentage of that. We just could not come up with a true loss figure. . . . Discrepancies are not uncommon. People drive off with gas. The pumps, they register, and you know how much is missing. 10 dollars, 20 dollars, it’s not unusual. One drive off, or drive-away, they fill up. They don’t come in for five dollars. They fill up. And so [if] a 20 dollar [is] missing, it doesn’t constitute a robbery.

See Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Joe Hinajosa, Former Assistant Manager at the Sigmor Station (Oct. 25, 2004) at 2:

There was no machine [at the Sigmor station] that kept count of credit. Therefore, the purchases paid for with a credit card were tallied with an adding machine—not the cash register. Sometimes there were mistakes related to counting the money. For example, you might just “miss a bundle of 20s.” Employees did not keep a drop sheet to record the amount of cash in the drop box on the floor. If the cash register was off more than $100—employees had to take a polygraph test.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 16:30:12–16:32:14, 16:33:10–16:34:20 (“It was difficult to tell, because at the time we didn’t use cash registers, we just used a cash drawer. We used a calculator and a tax chart to figure up what people bought.”; “There was some loss, but whether that was just accumulations of mistakes through clerks or whether merchandise didn’t actually come into the store from vendors [was unknown]. There’s a certain percentage of that.”).

Steve Mills & Maurice Possley, The Secret that Wasn’t: Violent Felon Bragged that He Was Real Killer, Chi. Trib. June 27, 2006, available at http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2006-06-27/news/0606270137_1_gas-station-stabbed-killing/3 (“At the request of the Tribune, Kevin Stevens, a DePaul University accounting professor, examined the inventory report prosecutors used at trial. Stevens, who coincidentally worked at a gas station while in college, concluded that the Sigmor’s bookkeeping system was too haphazard to be accurate. ‘They can’t know how much cash was missing,’ Stevens said, ‘because they can’t know how much cash was there.’”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 16:33:10–16:34:20, 7:06:48–17:07:40 (“There was some loss, but whether that was just accumulations of mistakes through clerks or whether merchandise didn’t actually come into the store from vendors [was unknown]. There’s a certain percentage of that. We just could not come up with a true loss figure . . . .”; “Was that an acceptable loss? Very easily.”).

Steve Mills & Maurice Possley, The Secret that Wasn’t: Violent Felon Bragged that He Was Real Killer, Chi. Trib., June 27, 2006, http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2006-06-27/news/0606270137_1_gas-station-stabbed-killing/3:

Stange, who said he was never interviewed by police, prosecutors or defense lawyers, worked the day shift at the station before Lopez. In a recent interview, he said he was called back that night after the murder to clean up the blood and conduct the inventory.

He said he found $55 in cash receipts as well as $200 kept at the station to make change for customers.

Lopez, he said, always made sure that when she accumulated $100 in receipts, she immediately put it in the safe and noted the time and the amount of the cash drop in the station’s daily log.

A copy of the log shows that Lopez last made a drop of $100 at 7:31 p.m., 38 minutes before she was attacked.

For De Luna’s $149 to have been robbery proceeds, Stange explained, Lopez would have had to take in at least that much in the half-hour before the crime occurred, without putting any of it in the safe.

Lopez, he said, “would have never kept that kind of money in the drawer without making a drop. She didn’t want that kind of money on hand. Nobody did.”

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 16:52:05–16:52:20, 17:06:48–17:07:40, 17:08:04–17:09:10 (reporting Stange’s conclusion that little or “no money was taken because he compared the money in the drawer to receipts from that shift” and “that at most 20 dollars was missing, if that.”; “You know, I believe that the numbers through the inventory, even though I say there was no cash taken, for some reason, 134 dollars stands out in my mind [as the loss shown by the inventory; actually, the loss was $166.86]. Was that an acceptable loss? Very easily. But I say there was no money taken. . . . I did thousands of inventories during my ten years. I just don’t believe that the cash value that was taken at that time was over 40 or 44 dollars. That’s the best of my recollection, that’s what I believe.”; “I fully believe it [the amount taken by the perpetrator] was less than 20 dollars. Because there was just too much money around the location. . . . It was a large enough quantity that—why would this be left? . . . I don’t believe he left with more than a 20-dollar bill or two tens. I just don’t believe he ever actually took any cash. Was that ever asked of me by anybody in law enforcement? No.”).

See also Steve Mills & Maurice Possley, The Secret that Wasn’t: Violent Felon Bragged that He Was Real Killer, Chi. Trib., June 27, 2006, available at http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2006-06-27/news/0606270137_1_gas-station-stabbed-killing/3.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 16:26:16 (“They [the police officers] wanted to know the value of what was taken. Could we determine, that night, what was taken? And I don’t believe we could determine what was taken, not while the police were there. We had to perform an inventory of the store to determine how much cash, merchandise was actually missing.”);

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 17:24:20:

[W]e were asked to go behind the counter and look around and calculate, and we were asked to go back on the other side of the door. It was a very short period of time after that that we were by ourselves [waiting to go back in the store]. So it was relatively quick, [from] the time that the suspect left. Our first entry into the store—I say our first entry, that was when we were escorted in to take a look behind the counter, and we were asked to step back again—that whole time period, from the time that the perpetrator left, or the suspect, [until] we actually got the keys, it had to be less than 30 minutes. It had to be. Somewhere, maybe around 20.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 16:59:27–17:01:30, 17:08:04–17:09:10 (“But in the final end, when Pete and I were looking at it, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’ For 20 dollars, for the minimal amount of money that it was, it wasn’t a robbery. The cash was available. It was there. And you could see that she tried to give it to him, and it just wasn’t a robbery. And that’s why I [said] earlier that it’s not about a robbery.”; “I just don’t believe he ever actually took any cash. Was that ever asked of me by anybody in law enforcement? No.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 16:28:14, 6:56:10–16:58:45 (“Even when Pete and I evaluated the scene. I remember the district manager coming over, Jim Manning, I remember him coming over. He stopped by, and he said, ‘What happened? Was it a robbery?’ Pete and I are looking around, we’re seeing money on the floor, very easily accessible. I believe there was money in the cash drawer. We couldn’t understand that it was a robbery, because it wasn’t, because the money was still there. There was still money there.”; “[I]t did not look like a robbery. Because when we described it to Jim Manning, the division manager—He had just come in to it and he was in overload. But we were telling him it just didn’t look right. It was scattered around, the money on the floor, and it just didn’t look like a robbery.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interviewwith Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 16:59:27–17:01:30, 17:08:94–17:09:10:

But in the final end, when Pete and I were looking at it, “You’ve got to be kidding.” For 20 dollars, for the minimal amount of money that it was, it wasn’t a robbery. The cash was available. It was there. And you could see that she tried to give it to him, and it just wasn’t a robbery. And that’s why I [said] earlier that it’s not about a robbery. . . . I just don’t believe he ever actually took any cash. Was that ever asked of me by anybody in law enforcement? No.

See also Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 17:09:10–17:11:08 (“Q. Tell me who came to after the events occurred as part of an investigation of this, from police, prosecutors, defense lawyers, investigators. Who came and talked to you? A. Absolutely no one . . . . To my knowledge, I had no statement ever taken. . . . I never spoke to an attorney, to a police investigator, to a prosecutor, not even a defense attorney, and I couldn’t even tell you who that was. I never spoke to anybody in regard to the criminal case.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 17:24:20–17:26:10:

They wanted to know the value of what was taken. Could we determine, that night, what was taken? And I don’t believe we could determine what was taken, not while the police were there. We had to perform an inventory of the store to determine how much cash, merchandise was actually missing. . . . [W]e were asked to go behind the counter and look around and calculate, and we were asked to go back on the other side of the door. It was a very short period of time after that that we were by ourselves [waiting to go back in the store]. So it was relatively quick, [from] the time that the suspect left. Our first entry into the store—I say our first entry, that was when we were escorted in to take a look behind the counter, and we were asked to step back again—that whole time period, from the time that the perpetrator left, or the suspect, [until] we actually got the keys, it had to be less than 30 minutes. It had to be. Somewhere, maybe around 20.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 17:11:37–17:12:43.

Wanda was stabbed around 8:11 p.m. See Wanda Lopez State of Texas Death Certificate for Wanda Lopez (Feb. 4, 1983) (listing “Hour of Injury” for Wanda Lopez as “8:11”);

Escobedo and Infante entered the store after the ambulance left the gas station, which was at 8:40 p.m. See supra note 14. The last entry in Escobedo’s report reflecting events inside the store was at 9:55 p.m. See Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983);

see Steve Mills & Maurice Possley, ‘I Didn’t Do It But I Know Who Did,’ New Evidence Suggests a 1989 Execution in Texas Was a Case of Mistaken Identity, Chi. Trib., June 25, 2006, available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-tx-1-story,0,653915.story?page=4 (“After Lopez was taken to the hospital, evidence technician Joel Infante and Detective Olivia Escobedo began processing the crime scene, a task that was completed in about an hour”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 16:54:30–16:55:40, 16:58:45–16:59:27, 16:59:27–17:01:30; 17:01:30–17:01:40:

A. There was a considerable amount of blood, because I do recall having to clean it up and wipe everything that had blood on it. . . .

Q. Who cleaned up?

A. I did. Myself and another manager, Joyce Winkler, the store manager where I came from, number 126. Somehow she had been told. Other store employees—[the store where the crime occurred was a] high-visibility store right along the interstate, so anybody going by on a Friday night saw it. Somehow she was notified. She not only helped clean up, but she also helped do the physical inventory of the location later on—That night. From the time the robbery happened and the police arrived, were on the scene, the store was closed. We remained closed all night. Inventory was done that evening. It was finished somewhere around—We got in to evaluate the cash 9, 9:30, and the two of us were able to do a physical inventory and do the numbers by 2:30 or 2:45, ‘cause I remember it was a very short night. It was only about an hour’s worth of rest I got. So the inventory and the numbers were all accumulated.

Steve Mills & Maurice Possley, ‘I Didn’t Do It But I Know Who Did,’ New Evidence Suggests a 1989 Execution in Texas Was a Case of Mistaken Identity, Chi. Trib., June 25, 2006, at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-tx-1-story,0,653915.story?page=4 (“Stange, who said he was never interviewed by police, prosecutors or defense lawyers, worked the day shift at the station before Lopez. In a recent interview, he said he was called back that night after the murder to clean up the blood and conduct the inventory.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 17:24:20–17:26:10:

And we were asked to go behind the counter and look around and calculate, and we were asked to go back on the other side of the door. It was a very short period of time after that that we were by ourselves [waiting to go back in the store]. So it was relatively quick, the time that the suspect left. Our first entry into the store—I say our first entry, that was when we were escorted in to take a look behind the counter, and we were asked to step back again—that whole time period, from the time that the perpetrator left, or the suspect, that we actually got the keys, it had to be less than 30 minutes. It had to be. Somewhere, maybe around 20. It’s like, “we got the pictures, we got the guy, let’s just get out of here. We’re done.”

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 17:37:050–17:38:00:

You know, I look back on it now. It was just—“Ok, we got this guy, we got one eyewitness that will identify him, that’s good enough. We got some fingerprints,” . . . . I don’t even know if it matched up. They found some guy hiding underneath a car. This is him. We got him, case is closed. As a detective, “I am sure this is the guy. I’m not looking any further, I’m not looking into this. . . . I know I’ve got him. I know I’ve got my man, I don’t need to go anywhere else.” That’s what it looks like. It looks like we just, we zeroed in on one path and everything that went this [other] way, we never looked at it.

See also Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 17:12:43–17:13:19 (“It just never seemed like it was investigated from there what actually happened in the store. That was just a dead issue. No real cash was taken. You call it a capital offense. Ok, there’s money scattered around, but you can’t determine that anything was really taken, so how can that portion be a capital offense when you’re not sure it’s anything other than just a killing?”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 17:24:20–17:26:10, 17:38:00–end (“It’s like, ‘we got the pictures, we got the guy, let’s just get out of here. We’re done.’ Everybody’s gone, you stand around like, “Well, now what am I supposed to do?” I remember standing around saying, “Well, what do you want me to do now?”; “Ultimately, did he get a fair trial in that sense? I couldn’t say. But I wouldn’t want that, not the way that one was done.”).

Lead Detective Escobedo acknowledged later that she was using her police radio to follow events occurring outside the store, including the manhunt, capture of DeLuna, and the eyewitness identifications. See sources cited supra, note 16.

See Transcribed Videotape Interview with Robert Stange, Shamrock Gas Station Manager, in Fredericksburg, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 16:30:12.

Chapter 4
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