HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 5
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Rose was still little when Becky, her surrogate mom, left.51 The other girls had married and left home by then, so it fell to Rose to cook and clean for her older brothers.52 It was “normal [for] the Mexican generation,” Rose explained, that the mom was harder on the girls than the boys. Rose and her sisters had to do exactly as they were told or they “got the crap beat out of [them].” Manuel and Carlos did “pretty much . . . whatever they wanted.”53

Rose recalled getting up at four in the morning. If she wanted to go to school, she had to make sure the house was cleaned and breakfast was made for the boys.54 When school got out, she had to go straight home to make dinner and finish cleaning.55 Rose started running marathons when her own children got older. She always felt bad that she wasn’t allowed to participate in sports after school.56 She pointed out that Margarita had no problem when her two sons joined the football team in junior high.57

School was an annoyance for Margarita because it meant extra expenses for clothing and supplies.58 The only reason she let the kids go to school, Rose said, was “the . . . [law]. If that law wasn’t in place, we wouldn’t be going to school.”59 After Blas came on the scene, the family moved to a tiny house in a new subdivision. The move made it harder for Rose and her brothers to get to school—they had to take a city bus to the school bus stop, then another bus to school.60

“You have to understand,” Rose explained, Margarita herself “never went to school.” She couldn’t read or write, or speak any English. She worked her whole life cleaning people’s homes.61 “I don’t blame her,” continued Rose. “That’s just the way she was brought up.” For “a lot of old generation . . . Mexicans, that’s how it [was]. You don’t go to school. . . . When you are old enough to get a job you should be out . . . working.”62

* * * * *

For Carlos, however, Margarita was a different kind of mother. All her other kids noticed it. “Oh, God, she loved Carlos,” Vicky recalled. “He was her pride and joy. She would do anything for Carlos, anything.” He was her favorite, her “consentido.”63 “I don’t know why,” Vicky said, but for Carlos her mother’s love “was more.”64

Some of the siblings thought Margarita cared more for Carlos because he looked like his handsome father Joe. Vicki thought it was a mother’s nature to defend a child who couldn’t seem to stay out of trouble.65

But Rose, who was closest in age to Carlos, knew it was something else. More outspoken than her other siblings, Rose came right out and asked her mother. Carlos was always doing things he wasn’t supposed to be doing. Why didn’t she get mad and hit him like she did the others?66 Why was it that any time he messed up, she was there, helping him?67

Margarita’s answer weighed on Rose, another burden to shoulder for a mother too worn out to bear it herself anymore. Margarita believed there was something wrong with Carlos.68 She told Rose that Carlos was like a “little bird with [a] broken wing. The other little birds can take care of themselves; they’ve flown out of the nest. . . . I don’t have to worry about them.” But this one couldn’t make it on his own.69

“My mom raised nine kids,” Rose explained, “[W]hen you have that many kids . . . you know [when] there’s something wrong with one.”70 Although Margarita was too uneducated to know how to say it, Rose believed her mother knew that “Carlos had a disability.”71

“He was slow,” Rose said reluctantly, shying away from more clinical words. “My mom . . . knew that he was slower than the others . . . . She knew he wasn’t learning the way he should be.”72

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 19:52:42–19:56:31 (“So she [Margarita] was raising us three, plus two of my sisters. Which is Mary and Becky lived in the house with her helping raise us as little kids. And then they got married and moved out, and I believe that is when my mom met my step-dad. . . . I think she met my step dad, I must have been, I know I wasn’t in kindergarten yet. I must have been four or maybe as young as three and a half or maybe five when he came into the picture.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 19:54:26–19:56:31 (“So that was me growing up, getting up early in the morning, making sure if I wanted to go to school, I had to make sure the house was cleaned up. I had to make sure breakfast was done for Manuel and Carlos because we grew up together.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 19:54:26–19:56:31:

She [Margarita] was harder on us girls, as far as stricter, and expected more from the girls than the guys. And that’s pretty much normal in the Mexican generation, the moms tend to be easier on the men than they tend to be on the women. They tend to be harder on the women. So my mom was really hard on us, as far as the guys, she pretty much let them do what they wanted to do. So that was me growing up, getting up early in the morning, making sure if I wanted to go to school, I had to make sure the house was cleaned up. I had to make sure breakfast was done for Manuel and Carlos . . . .

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 19:56:43–19:57:37:

[M]y mother was strict on, very strict on me. My. . . . when I got up in the morning, like I said, I had to make sure all these things were done before I went to school. And then I had to get home right as soon as I got out of school. There wasn’t any sports. You couldn’t do any sports, at all. You get straight home. I would get home and help her start . . . [getting] ready for . . . cleaning up, dinner, whatever need to be done. As far as Carlos and Manuel, those are my two brothers that lived at home. She pretty much let them do whatever they wanted to do. Come and go as they wanted.

Susan Montez’s Notes on Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna (July 19, 2004) at 5 (“[Rose] had to get up at 4 a.m., make breakfast for Manuel and Carlos and herself and clean up the house before she could go to school.”);

Susan Montez’s Notes on Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna (July 19, 2004) at 5–6:

Margarita favored the boys. The girls had to do exactly as they were told, or “we got the crap beat out of us, literally.” Margarita hit them with a belt, slapped them and pulled their hair. Rose said, “I had really long hair. It hurt.” The girls had to scrub the floors and walls, and wash clothes by hand. If Carlos or Manuel got into trouble, they would get hit and have to do some cleaning, but three hours later Margarita would be giving them ice cream. If they wanted to go out, she would let them. Rose remembered mowing and raking the lawn, while Carlos and Manuel were in the house watching TV, even after they’d started getting into trouble. Rose thought this was normal, that this was the way everybody lived.

See also Susan Montez’s Notes on Interview with Toni Peña, Half-Sister of Carlos DeLuna (July 25, 2004) at 2 (recounting that Margarita “was very strict with the children. Toni said that Margarita was more strict with her original six children than with the three she had later on (Manuel, Carlos and Rose). Toni then said that Rose would probably disagree with that.”);

see Susan Montez’s Notes on Interview with Linda Perales Ayala, Step-Mother of Pricilla Hernandez Jaramillo and Ex-Wife of Manuel DeLuna (July 24, 2004) at 2–3 (“Linda went to Manuel’s [Manuel DeLuna’s] house twice [during junior high or high school]. She thought their mother was mentally abusive to them. The mother was especially hard on Rose, who had to do all the cooking and cleaning for Manuel and Carlos.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 19:54:26–19:56:31:

She [Margarita] was harder on us girls, as far as stricter, and expected more from the girls than the guys. And that’s pretty much normal in the Mexican generation, the moms tend to be easier on the men than they tend to be on the women. They tend to be harder on the women. So my mom was really hard on us, as far as the guys, she pretty much let them do what they wanted to do. So that was me growing up, getting up early in the morning, making sure if I wanted to go to school, I had to make sure the house was cleaned up. I had to make sure breakfast was done for Manuel and Carlos . . . .

Susan Montez’s Notes on Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna (July 19, 2004) at 5 (Rose “had to get up at 4 a.m., make breakfast for Manuel and Carlos and herself and clean up the house before she could go to school.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 19:56:43–19:57:37 (“[W]hen I got up in the morning . . . I had to make sure all these things were done before I went to school. And then I had to get home right as soon as I got out of school. There wasn’t any sports. You couldn’t do any sports, at all. You get straight home. I would get home and help her start . . . [getting] ready for . . . cleaning up, dinner, whatever need to be done.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 19:56:43–19:57:37.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:12:12–20:14:13, 20:26:00–20:28:40 (“And [Carlos] wanted to be in sports, which my mother allowed him to play football.”; “I know for sure what hurt Carlos the most was when he was kicked out of football. When he was kicked out of football, he gave up. . . . I really didn’t know what position [Carlos played]. I know Manuel would know what position because Manuel was also in football.”);

see also Susan Montez’s Notes on Interview with Toni Peña, Half-Sister of Carlos DeLuna (July 25, 2004) at 3 (“[Carlos] liked football, basketball and riding bikes. She thought he had played on the school football team. . . . Manuel . . . had been on the football team.”).

Susan Montez’s Notes on Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna (July 19, 2004) at 4 (“Education was an annoying burden to Margarita, because it required her to buy clothes and supplies for the kids. She did not think education was important at all. Rose was certain that, had there not been a law requiring children to go to school, none of them would have attended.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 19:46:25–19:48:11, 19:54:26–19:56:31 (“And they weren’t, my parent’s [sic] weren’t parents that encouraged you to finish school. That wasn’t their lifestyle. They had a totally different lifestyle. Education wasn’t one of [their priorities]. . . . It was a hard thing, my parents didn’t believe in education. Especially my mom, she didn’t believe in education, that’s just one thing she didn’t encourage us in.”; “[T]he only reason why my mom allowed us to go to school is she was forced by the [law]—If you don’t go to school, you get in trouble. So that’s the only reason why we were able to go to school, because of that law. If that law wasn’t in place we wouldn’t be going to school.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 19:48:14–19:49:25, 19:54:26–19:56:31 (describing how the DeLuna kids got to school [after they moved out of the projects]: “[I]f we wanted to go to school, we had to take to take the city bus, from the city bus, take the school bus, and from the school bus get to school.”; “take the city bus and from the city bus take the school bus and from the school bus go to school.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 19:48:14–19:49:25:

[Margarita] never went to school. My mom couldn’t read or write or speak any English. She totally depended on us kids to help her on everything as far as translating everything for her. That was part of my duty, to help her with all the translation, and so I grew up pretty fast. I had to learn pretty fast how to be an adult quickly. Because of the situation we lived in, because she wasn’t educated. . . . And as far as money-wise it was really hard for them. Because my mom cleaned houses, my step dad was a construction worker, so money was really tight. So if we wanted anything we had to work for it.

See also Pre-Disposition Investigation for Carlos DeLuna, Al R. Reyna, Intake Coordinator, Probation Dep’t (June 27, 1978) at 3 (reporting that Margarita was uneducated and illiterate in Spanish and English);

Susan Montez’s Notes on Interview with Toni Peña, Half-Sister of Carlos DeLuna (July 25, 2004) at 2 (“Toni remembered her mother worked for HEB, a grocery store chain, and also cleaned houses.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:12:12–20:14:13 (“[Y]ou have to understand, [Margarita] never went to school. So I don’t blame her. That’s just the way she was brought up, and a lot of old generation, Mexican generations, that’s how it is. You don’t go to school. Their thoughts are, when you are old enough to get a job you should be out there working, and that’s just the way it is in the Mexican generation.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Vicky Gutierrez, Half-Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Garland, Texas (Feb. 27, 2005) at 00:12:46–00:13:09, 00:18:05–00:18:20:00, 00:18:20–00:18:40, 00:19:20–00:19:35 (“Oh, God. She loved Carlos. That was her pride and joy. She would do anything for Carlos, anything. She loved us all, but Carlos, he was her love, he was. She would do anything for him.”; “Consentido? Yeah, I think so. Carlos was her consentido.”; “She loved us all, like I told you. [But with] him, I don’t know why, it was more.”; “It was like he was his favorite son, my mother’s favorite son. She loved him very much.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Vicky Gutierrez, Half-Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Garland, Texas (Feb. 27, 2005) at 00:12:46–00:13:09, 00:18:05–00:18:20:00, 00:18:20–00:18:40, 00:19:20–00:19:35.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Vicky Gutierrez, Half-Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Garland, Texas (Feb. 27, 2005), at 00:13:09–00:13:50:

Maybe [Margarita loved Carlos best] because he started getting in trouble with the law or something like that. That’s what I think. A mother is a mother, even if you are bad. You do bad things, your mother is going to love you. It’s something in a mother that when your son does something wrong to her, she don’t [feel] no wrong. I’m a mother, and that’s the way I feel. My kids are angels to me. Even if they do something wrong, to me, they don’t do no wrong.

Susan Montez’s Notes on Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna (July 19, 2004) at 3–4 (“Carlos looked like Joe DeLuna, and was their mother’s favorite.”);

see also Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:28:54–20:30:42 (“She [Margarita] loved Carlos so much.”);

Susan Montez’s Notes on Interview with Mary Arredando, Half-Sister of Carlos DeLuna (July 26, 2004) at 2 (“Carlos resembled Joe DeLuna.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:28:54–20:30:42 (“She loved Carlos so much. And there again, I did ask her, why all this special attention to Carlos? You have to understand how the other siblings felt. I always happened to be the outspoken one.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:26:00–20:28:29 (“Any time he [Carlos] did something that he wasn’t supposed to be doing, she [Margarita] was there, helping him, constantly.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) (“I know my mom knew there was something wrong, because she was always helping him. Any time he did something that he wasn’t supposed to be doing, she was there, helping him, constantly.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:05:52–20:08:01:

[Margarita] said “. . . [P]icture a little bird with a broken wing. That’s your brother. Your brother is the little bird with the broken wing. And the other little birds can take care of themselves; they’ve flown out of the nest. They know how to take care of themselves, so I don’t have to worry about them. But your brother is the one with the broken wing, and he needs help until that broken wing can heal. Then hopefully things will be better for him. And that’s the reason why I am always there for him. Because he’s the little bird with the broken wing.”

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005), at 20:28:54–20:30:42:

She loved Carlos so much. And there again, I did ask her, why all this special attention to Carlos? You have to understand how the other siblings felt. I always happened to be the outspoken one. That’s what she told me. That’s the example she gave me, him having that broken wing, and that’s the reason why. She knew she didn’t have to worry about the other little birds. She knew the other little birds will make it on their own. They’re going to be ok, but this one cannot make it on his own.

See also Transcribed Videotape Interview with Vicky Gutierrez, Half-Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Garland, Texas (Feb. 27, 2005) at 00:13:09–00:13:50 (“Maybe [her Carlos was her mother’s favorite] because he started getting in trouble with the law or something like that. That’s what I think. A mother is a mother, even if you are bad. You do bad things, your mother is going to love you.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:26:00–20:28:20 (“My mom raised eight kids, and when you have that many kids, nine kids total, and you see each kid, you know that there’s something wrong with one. So I believe that my mom, even though she never said it—maybe she didn’t know how to say it—she knew that Carlos had a disability issue. She knew that he was slower than the others.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:26:00–20:28:20.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:26:00–20:28:29 (“[M]y mom, even though she never said it—maybe she didn’t know how to say it—she knew that that Carlos had a disability issue. She knew that he was slower than the others. . . . [M]y mom knew there was a problem there with him. She knew that he wasn’t learning the way he should be learning.”).

Chapter 5
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