HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 6
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All Chapter 6 Footnotes

A big part of Carlos’s dark side, Margie said, was his bizarre obsession with his knife—a long blade inside a brown fake-wood handle with gold-colored metal trim, which opened up and locked. Carlos always carried the knife on his right side, in a pouch or in his pocket.50

Margie sometimes felt Carlos paid more attention to the knife than to her. “He would sit there at night, when we were watching tv,” she recalled. He had a stone, and he’d “[p]ut water and just be sharpening it.” Then he’d clean it. Then he “would say something to it and put it under where he slept.”51 He treated it like it was “a real person or something,” she said, “just . . . like you would put a kid to bed.”52

* * * * *

As Carlos grew more violent towards Margie, he also demanded more control over her life. He didn’t even want her crossing the street to her mother’s house. Soon, he wouldn’t let her go out at all without him.53 If Margie defied him, he would beat her.54 She was a prisoner, she told the investigators much later. She didn’t see a way out.

It eventually took the police to get her out of Fidela’s home. She begged her older sister Mary Jane and her brother-in-law Richard Garcia for help.55 The two called the cops, telling them an underage girl and baby boy were being held captive.56 The police, Margie recalled, showed up at the Hernandez home and “asked me ‘do you want to go.’” She said she did. “Carlos was standing at the door. They said get the baby’s things.”57

Recalling the incident much later, Margie’s brother-in-law, Richard Garcia, described Carlos’s reputation for abusing women. Carlos was a “coward who beat women to make them do what he wanted” and make them “his slave,” Garcia said. But when Carlos wanted to attack men, “he got others to fight his fights for him.”58 The husband of another of Hernandez’s victims described him similarly: “a coward,” who “took his frustration out on women,” who “only attacked women, not men.”59

Margie felt lucky to have gotten out of Fidela’s house alive.60

* * * * *

There were a lot of things about Fidela’s house that frightened people.61 Rita Hull, a close friend of Carlos’s older sister Paula,62 who nursed Paula as she died of cervical cancer,63 described Fidela Hernandez as a mean, evil woman. A “bruja,” Rita called her. A witch.64

Fidela, Rita said, wanted Paula to die so she could collect on insurance. Fidela said this to Paula’s face, Rita said. “‘Just . . . die so I can collect.’”65 When Paula did die, at age 42,66 Fidela got her money, but she wouldn’t use any of it to pay for Paula’s funeral. Rita made the arrangements herself.67 The county buried her in a pine box.68

Paula’s son, John Michael Schilling, described his grandmother as a “mean lady.” He struggled for words to describe her, finally settling on “very bad—no good—she didn’t like any of us.”69

Fidela worked at a dry-cleaning store on Staples Street, but for years, according to Hull, she made most of her money from men who came to her house for sex.70 Margie saw this too, when she lived there—Fidela’s “sugar daddies,” as the older woman called them, constantly shuffling in and out of the house.71 Years later, Fidela told investigators that her mother had encouraged her to prostitute herself from a young age, because she had a nice body that could make her good money.72

Always looking for ways to make a dime, Fidela also told the investigators about her scheme to carry life insurance policies on all her children.73 Just as she expected, trouble and early deaths seemed to run in the family.

Transcribed Videotaped Interview with Mary Margaret Tapia, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez, in San Antonio, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 05:00:13 (“[Hernandez] always had a knife. It was brown, corner was gold. It was kinda about yea long when it was open. It locked. It was one of those, I don’t what you call it maybe a buck knife. You know that you flip open and it locks. The reason I know this is because he always carried it on his right side in a pouch. If he didn’t have the pouch he carried it in his back pocket. I saw that knife constantly.”).

Transcribed Videotaped Interview with Mary Margaret Tapia, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez, in San Antonio, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 05:00:49 (“I think he sometimes paid more attention to [his knife] than he did to me. He would sit there at night, when we were watching tv or whatever, he would just, it’s called a wet stone. Put water and just be sharpening it. And after he did that he cleaned it. He would say something to it and put it under where he slept.”).

Transcribed Videotaped Interview with Mary Margaret Tapia, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez, in San Antonio, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 05:01:13 (“I don’t know, like [the knife] was a real person or something. And he would just, like you would put a kid to bed.”);

see also Bruce Whitman’s Notes on Interview with Mary Margaret Tapia, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (Sept. 24 and 26, 2004) at 4 (“Carlos Hernandez always carried a folding knife . . . . He carried it either in a holster on his belt on his right side or in his right back pocket. Carlos Hernandez talked to his knife and told it when it was time for it to go to bed. Carlos put the knife to bed on his side of the bed and under the mattress.”).

Transcribed Videotaped Interview with Mary Margaret Tapia, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez, in San Antonio, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 05:07:29 (“He wouldn’t let me go to my mom’s. He wouldn’t, um, if I would go, but I would have to be home by the time (he got home). And I couldn’t tell my mom what was going on. He wouldn’t allow it. And he always made sure I was home. He never let me go out. I couldn’t go to the store by myself. I couldn’t take the baby out unless I was with him.”);

see Bruce Whitman’s Notes on Interview with Mary Margaret Tapia, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (Sept. 24 and 26, 2004) at 3:

Things with Carlos were good until March of 1979. In March Margie got her figure back and was feeling good about herself. One day she fixed her hair, put on a pair of shorts, put Eric in the basinet and sat on the front porch and waited for Carlos to come home from work so she could greet him on the porch. Carlos arrived on Carrizo Street. As he was walking down the sidewalk and as he got to his house he noticed Margie sitting on the porch and from the street he yelled at Margie, “What the fuck are you doing outside the house?” Margie told him she was waiting for him to come home from work. Carlos climbed the stairs and started kicking Margie. He was wearing his heavy work boots. He kicked Margie through the front door into the house. Margie told Carlos she hadn’t done anything she was just sitting outside waiting for him. Once inside the house Margie said she wanted to go to her mother’s. Carlos said no, locked the front door, picked up a hammer, threw Margie on the bed in the living room, held the hammer over her head and threatened to hit her with it while he raped her. Margie told Carlos she wanted to leave him. Carlos told her if she ever left him he would kill her and she wasn’t taking his son, (Eric). From this event on, Carlos didn’t allow Margie out of the house unless he was with her.

Transcribed Videotaped Interview with Mary Margaret Tapia, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez, in San Antonio, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 05:08:59–05:09:04 (stating that Hernandez would beat her if she defied his will).

Transcribed Videotaped Interview with Mary Margaret Tapia, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez, in San Antonio, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 05:09:33 (“I had it, I couldn’t take it anymore. And at that time, my sister, Mary Jane Garcia, she had just gotten married to Richard Garcia, one of the guys from the neighborhood. I finally told her what was going on.”).

Transcribed Videotaped Interview with Mary Margaret Tapia, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez, in San Antonio, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 05:10:33 (“My sister and her husband called the cops. I meant the police, excuse me, slang. They called the cops and they told them that I was underage and that I was being held against my will. And they told them that I had a son. And the police asked me do you want to go. I’m like yes. Carlos was standing at the door. They said get the baby’s things.”).

Transcribed Videotaped Interview with Mary Margaret Tapia, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez, in San Antonio, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 05:10:33;

see also Bruce Whitman’s Notes on Interview with Mary Margaret Tapia, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (Sept. 24 and 26, 2004) at 3:

Approximately 2 months later [in May 1979], Carlos began beating Margie again but this time Margie was able to get to the telephone in Fidela’s room. She called her sister Mary Jane Garcia and told her what was happening. She was in fear of her life and wanted to get out of the house. Mary Jane told her there was only one way to get Margie out and that was with the help of the police. Margie told her not to call the police because Carlos was on parole and he would be sent back to prison. Mary Jane sent her husband Richard and his brother Johnny over. Carlos answered the door. Richard told Carlos he was there to get Margie and Eric. Carlos said no. A couple hours later there was another knock on the door and this time it was the police. The police asked how things were going. Carlos said things were fine. The police asked Margie the same question and she told them she wanted to leave. Carlos said no, the police said yes. Margie took Eric, left with the police and never returned.

Bruce Whitman’s Notes on Interview with Richard Garcia, Brother-in-Law of Mary Margaret Tapia (July 22, 2005) at 2 (“Richard described Carlos Hernandez as: A coward, liked to beat up women, not a man, would not fight men, only liked to beat up women, liked to control women, was a mommy’s boy, mommy’s [sic] took care of him and fought his fights for him.”).

Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Gilbert Limon, Acquaintance of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 12, 2004) at 2 (describing Carlos Hernandez as “strange, especially when he was drunk. He always carried a ‘Buck Knife’. . . . [T]he guy just starts carving on his stomach with his knife. He was the type of person that was a coward and took his frustration out on women.”);

see also Peso Chavez & James S. Liebman’s Notes on Interviews with Jon Kelly, Lawyer for Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 16, 18, 20, 2004) at 6 (“It was said by [Kelly’s] other [criminal defense] clients that Carlos is a chicken: ‘He stabbed people in the back’”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Mary Margaret Tapia, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 05:20:14 (“Q. Now Margie as you look back on your time with Carlos Hernandez and think about everything you’ve experienced from him and with him and what you’ve learned about since. What goes through your head when you hear all of that? A. I’m lucky to be alive. I’m very lucky to be alive. The Carlos Hernandez that I knew he was capable of hurting a woman . . . . It makes me think it could have been me.”).

See infra Chapter 8, notes 13–34 and accompanying text.

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (Sept. 14, 2004) at 2 (describing the lifelong friendship between Rita and Paula; “Rita met Paula when Rita was 12 y.o. Paula died of cervical cancer at the age of 42.”);

see James S. Liebman & Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (July 22, 2004) at 1 (noting that Rita “first met Paula at [age] 12–13. [Paula was l]ike her big sister. Close.”).

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (Sept. 14, 2004) at 2;

see James S. Liebman & Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (July 22, 2004) at 1 (“Rita took care of Paula during her cancer crisis.”).

James S. Liebman & Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (July 22, 2004) at 1 (“Fidela—a bruja—witch . . . pejorative term”);

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (Sept. 14, 2004) at 2 (“Fidela is a mean, evil woman . . . .”);

James S. Liebman & Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (July 22, 2004) at 3 (“This woman was a bruja (witch), one of the worst persons in the world.”).

James S. Liebman & Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (July 22, 2004) at 3 (“[A]ll that Paula ever wanted from her mother was to say that she loved her and she never did. In fact when she went to visit Paula in the hospital she told her, ‘why don’t you hurry up and die so that I can collect on the insurance money so that I can spend it before I die.’ . . . Four of her children died and she collected insurance on all of them.”);

see James S. Liebman & Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (July 22, 2004) at 1 (“She [Fidela] got money when each kid died. Her mom [Fidela] refused to acknowledge she loved Paula before Paula died. ‘No, I don’t care; just want you to die so I can collect.’”).

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (Sept. 14, 2004) at 2.

James S. Liebman & Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (July 22, 2004) at 1.

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (Sept. 14, 2004) at 2 (“Fidela did not participate in preparing Paula’s funeral and provided no financial assistance for the funeral even though she received insurance money from Paula’s death. Paula was buried in a pine box by the county.”).

Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with John Michael Schilling, Nephew Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 12, 2004) at 1 (“I can’t even describe that woman. She’s very bad—no good—she didn’t like any of us.”).

James S. Liebman & Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (July 22, 2004) at 1 (“Fidela was a puta. A real working prostitute.”);

James S. Liebman & Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (July 22, 2004) at 3 (“Fidela is a whore who had men in and out of her house all the time that paid for sex. She and Paula both worked at a dry cleaners store on Staples but Fidela’s real profession was that of a prostitute.”);

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (Sept. 14, 2004) at 3 (“Pricilla [Paula’s daughter who was sent to live with Fidela after she was born out of wedlock] turned out the way she did because of what she witnessed at Fidela’s house, including Fidela’s prostitution. Pricilla has 8 children from 7 fathers.”);

Peso Chavez & James S. Liebman’s Notes on Interview with Gloria Sanchez, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 16, 2004) at 4 (“Fidela—lady of the night.”).

Transcribed Videotaped Interview with Mary Margaret Tapia, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez, in San Antonio, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 05:12:46 (“[Fidela] always had her sugar daddy’s coming in and out.”);

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Beatriz Castro, Friend of Fidela Hernandez (Oct. 23, 2004) at 2, 5 (“Javier told one of Beatrz’s [sic] sons that he watched his mother having sex with a man. . . .”; “Beatriz knew that, when Fidela was younger, she used to bring men home to make money. . . . She had sex with men to make money.”);

Bruce Whitman’s Notes on Interview with Mary Margaret Tapia, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (Sept. 24 and 26, 2004) at 2 (“[When Margie lived in Fidela’s home,] Fidela was not working at a job. She went out nightly to bar/lounges, including one called Marie’s. . . . Fidela was a prostitute and sometimes brought her john’s [sic] home with her. One she called Sugar daddy. Carlos knew what his mother was doing but never talked about it to Margie. Fidela paid the bills with the money she made as a prostitute.”).

Bruce Whitman’s Notes on Interview with Fidela Hernandez, Mother of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 7, 2004) at 1 (“Fh’s [Fidela Hernandez’s] mother groomed her at an early age to sell her body to men. Her mother told her she looked nice and had a nice body and she should sell it to men to make money. . . . Fh has never been close to her family because they call her a prostitute.”);

see also Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview #3 with Fidela Hernandez, Mother of Carlos Hernandez (Sept. 16, 2004) at 4–5 (“Fidela also worked at a saloon. Her boss was her ‘compadre’ and took care of Fidela. When she was there men tried touching her so she said you have to take me somewhere and pay me if you want to touch me. Fidela learned the hard way to survive.”).

James S. Liebman & Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (July 22, 2004) at 3 (“[A]ll that Paula ever wanted from her mother was to say that she loved her and she never did. In fact when she went to visit Paula in the hospital she told her, ‘why don’t you hurry up and die so that I can collect on the insurance money so that I can spend it before I die.’ . . . Four of her children died and she collected insurance on all of them.”);

James S. Liebman & Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (July 22, 2004) at 1 (“She [Fidela] got money when each kid died. Her mom [Fidela] refused to acknowledge she loved Paula before Paula died. ‘No, I don’t care; just want you to die so I can collect.’”);

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes of Interview #2 with Fidela Hernandez, Mother of Carlos Hernandez (Sept. 15, 2004) at 2 (“Fidela had insurance policies on all her children.”).

Chapter 6
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