HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 6
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Her first child, Arelia, died at eleven months. Fidela was seventeen, and her husband at the time, Santiago Ramos, wouldn’t provide food, so the baby starved to death.74 The doctor “put something else down as the cause of death,” Fidela told the investigators, so the authorities wouldn’t inquire.75

After Santiago and Fidela split up, their other daughter, Margarite, was raped and impregnated by Fidela’s second husband, Carlos Hernandez, Sr.76 In the fall of 1960, when Carlos, Jr., the oldest of the couple’s four boys, was six, his father went to prison for a different rape. When the elder Carlos was released, he moved on to Dallas and had nothing more to do with Fidela and their children.77

Family welfare officials later reported that Fidela was “bitter” about Carlos, Sr.’s leaving her for prison and never coming back. Fidela “has tended to take out her frustrations on the children and particularly on Carlos [Jr.],” her husband’s namesake.78

For a year after their father went to prison, Fidela sent Carlos and the next oldest brother, Gerardo (“Jerry”), to live in a state home for orphans, claiming she couldn’t support them.79 The local welfare department was involved with the family for years.80

Fidela told juvenile officials that “she and [Carlos, Jr.] could not get along.”81 According to Hull, Fidela favored Javier, the third oldest of the Hernandez boys, and tormented Carlos by making her preference known.82

Javier had his own problems, though. His troubled life ended with his death in a fire at the home of his longtime girlfriend. The police thought he had committed suicide.83 No one ever knew whether Fidela collected on Javier.

Another of the Hernandez children to die a premature and violent death was Ephrain, or Frankie. In 1979, at age 21, Frankie was beaten, stabbed with a broken bottle, and left to die in a park where his body was dumped. Someone had carved out one of his eyes, and he choked to death on his own blood.84 Police never solved the crime,85 but Fidela and others in the family said Frankie had gotten too close to a woman who was in a lesbian relationship, and her jealous lover and the lover’s brother killed him.86 The main thing for Fidela was that she collected on that insurance policy.87

Only Jerry escaped Fidela and Corpus Christi. “Jerry disowned the family,” Rita Hull said, “and left the house after graduating from high school. He was the only one [of the five siblings] who graduated.”88

* * * * *

Rita Hull described Carlos, Jr. as the worst of the Hernandez family. Even Fidela had it in for him.89

Paula Hernandez’s husband, Freddy Schilling, saw it the same way. Freddy got a special dose of Carlos’s mean streak, because Carlos couldn’t stand him or pretty much any man who was with his sister Paula.

“Carlos was very violent,” Freddy told an investigator a long time later. “He threatened my life many, many times. . . . He would pull clubs, or he would pull a knife. He . . . picked up trash cans and tried to hit me with them. He always threatened me.”90

“I’ll be honest with you,” Freddy said. “I was really scared of this dude. I fought him off for a long time.”91 For years, Freddy believed “one of us was going to hurt [the other] real bad. But I wasn’t looking forward to it.”92

By all accounts, Carlos Hernandez was an alcoholic and a mean and violent drunk. Something about alcohol set him off, made him aggressive and “constantly mad at the world,” as a neighbor recalled.93 He would get trashed on Schlitz or another brand of cheap beer94 and then go off without warning, from calm to exploding with rage.95 When Carlos drank, Freddy said, you didn’t want to be around him. He’d literally “stab you in the back.”96

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview #3 with Fidela Hernandez, Mother of Carlos Hernandez (Sept. 16, 2004) at 5:

Fidela’s first child, Arelia who she had with her husband Santiago Ramos died of hunger at 11 months because he would not give her anything to take care of the child. Fidela had no milk for the baby. She went to the owner of the apartments where they were living on 24th or 25th [Street], and the woman told Fidela to take the baby to the hospital because the baby would die. Fidela went to the doctor who told her he would put something else down as the reason the child died. Ramos did voodoo. Fidela was only 17 years old. She was still playing with balloons and innocent. She had never been with a man before she married Ramos. Fidela married Ramos because her stepfather was, “after my bones.” My mother (stepmother?) did not believe me. “I told Santiago I did not love him but he just wanted to be married with a virgin.” My mother gave him $20 to buy a dress and cheap sandals. “I had a picture of us at the wedding but it got wet in a storm.”

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview #3 with Fidela Hernandez, Mother of Carlos Hernandez (Sept. 16, 2004) at 5.

James S. Liebman & Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (July 22, 2004) at 1 (“Rita . . . said that C. Hernandez’s father impregnated his daughter Maggie”);

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (Sept. 14, 2004) at 6 (“Marguerite . . . [allegedly] had a son from the incest with her [step-]father . . . . Marguerite gave the son up for adoption.”);

see Bruce Whitman’s Notes on Interview with Fidela Hernandez, Mother of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 7, 2004) at 1 (“Fh [Fidela Hernandez] found out that ch/sr [Carlos Hernandez, Sr.] was molesting his stepdaughter margarita. Margarita was 14 yoa at the time and chose to stay with [Carlos Hernandez] sr.”);

Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Freddy Schilling, Brother-in-Law of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 5, 2004) at 2 (“Her [Marguerite’s] father got her pregnant.”).

Case History for Carlos Hernandez, Clark J. Miller, Corpus Christi Juvenile Case Officer (Feb. 11, 1971) (“Mr. [Carlos] Hernandez [Sr.] was convicted of a rape charge in 1960. He was sent to the penitentiary for several years and after completing his term apparently went to live in Dallas. Mrs. Hernandez stated he has never attempted to come back to her and that she would not take him back if he tried.”).

Case History for Carlos Hernandez, Clark J. Miller, Corpus Christi Juvenile Case Officer (Feb. 11, 1971) at 8–9, 3 (reporting on Feb. 11, 1971, that Carlos’s “relationship” with his mother “has been strained to a large part because Mrs. Hernandez has tended to take out her frustrations on the children and particularly on Carlos”; that Fidela was “bitter and hostile towards her ex-husband and takes her feelings out on her children”; and that the Welfare Department was involved with family for “several years” prior to the 1971 report; reporting on April 29, 1971, that “[Fidela Hernandez] was constantly on Carlos’[s] back about anything he did. She stated that she had become this way after suffering so much due to her husband’s imprisonment.”).

Case History for Carlos Hernandez, Clark J. Miller, Corpus Christi Juvenile Case Officer (Feb. 11, 1971) at 7 (“Carlos and his brother Gerardo were in Youth City for about a year following their father’s imprisonment because the mother could not support them.”).

Case History for Carlos Hernandez, Clark J. Miller, Corpus Christi Juvenile Case Officer (Feb. 11, 1971) at 8–9 (“Mr. [Carlos] Hernandez [Sr.] was convicted of a rape charge in 1960. He was sent to the penitentiary for several years and after completing his term apparently went to live in Dallas. Mrs. Hernandez stated he has never attempted to come back to her and that she would not take him back if he tried.”).

Case History for Carlos Hernandez, Clark J. Miller, Corpus Christi Juvenile Case Officer (Feb. 11, 1971) at 3 (noting that Fidela Hernandez claimed on Feb. 11, 1971, that “at first [she] was very angry at [Carlos Hernandez] and had told the intake worker that she and the boy could not get along”).

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (Sept. 14, 2004) at 6.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Freddy Schilling, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 14:36:50–14:38:05, 14:42:17–14:43:38 (“Javier, he was an alcoholic. All he wanted to do was drink. He never got violent.”);

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Freddy Schilling, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 14:42:17–14:43:38:

Q. How did Javier die?

A. You know, that’s something I’ve never been able to put together. Now I understand he got burnt, that he went to the Valley. And his wife used to live across the street, or her and Javier used to live right across the street. They had a beautiful baby. And he used to love her. And she used to take care of him, really loved him. Like I said, Javier was an alcoholic, he had an alcoholic problem. That’s the way he lived, all his life. Now, when he died, I can’t recall if I was out here or I was in prison. That’s just what I heard through the grapevine, that he went to the Valley and that somehow he fell asleep, the mattress caught on fire, the house burnt down, or wherever he was staying at burnt, and he burnt with it.

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview #3 with Fidela Hernandez, Mother of Carlos Hernandez (Sept. 16, 2004) at 2 (“Javier was wild, Carlos was not wild.”);

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Sylvia Hernandez, Sister-in-Law of Carlos Hernandez (Oct. 27, 2004) at 2 (“Javier and [his wife] Sylvia started to fight [at their home] over the gas tank. . . . At first, Javier did not have matches. Then he lit a match. . . . Sylvia thinks Javier intentionally stayed inside the house [after the match ignited].”);

Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Dina Ybañez, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez (June 14–15, 2004) at 4 (“[Carlos’s] brother Javier died in a fire . . . .”).

Murder Victim Found In Park, Robstown Record, May 24, 1979 at 1, 5 (“The badly beaten body of a 22 year old man was found Saturday morning in [a] Park . . identified as Efrian Hernandez . . . . The man was apparently killed by being beaten and cut with a bottle . . . there were lacerations around the victim’s face and abdomen”);

William Belford, Summary of Efrain Hernandez Death Record at Nueces County Clerk’s Office (July 7, 2005) at 1 (“Cause of death was traumatic head injury and aspiration of blood. A description of how the injury occurred was that the deceased was beaten and stabbed with a bottle. The cause of death was ruled a homicide.”).

Arrest Sheet No. C21250 for Juan Velasquez, Robstown Police Dep’t (May 25, 1979) at 1 (“Capital Murder Warrant . . . above subject arrested at the station on warrant #21999 issued by Judge B. Serge”);

Three Held in Two Homicides, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, May 26, 1979 (“Two men were arrested on charges of capital murder in connection with . . . beating and cutting last weekend of Efrain Hernandez, 21, of Corpus Christi. Arrested after turning themselves in at the Corpus Christi police department were Alonzo Gonzales, 24 . . . and Juan Velasquez, 23”);

William Belford, Summary of Efrain Hernandez Death Record at Nueces County Clerk’s Office (July 7, 2005) at 1 (“Captain Secundino TAMEZ of the Robstown PD admitted that there were very few leads [to the killing of Ephrain Hernandez]. The Robstown PD claim that all offense reports, even homicides, are destroyed after 10 years [and were not available as of 2005].”);

William Belford, Summary of Criminal Record of Juan Velasquez (Aug. 2, 2005) at 3 (“The pre-sentence report also gives list of VELASQUEZ’s arrests up to 1990—confirms he was arrested on 05/25/79 for capital murder [evidently of Ephrain Hernandez] which was dismissed”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Freddy Schilling, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 14:41:29–14:42:17 (noting that Ephrain was “dancing with some girl, and apparently the girl had a lover, another girl. And she got jealous . . . . And she broke a quart bottle and cut his throat and cut a piece of his eye out. . . . [T]hey threw him in the park[, and] they left him face-up and he choked on his own blood.”);

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes of Interview #2 with Fidela Hernandez, Mother of Carlos Hernandez (Sept. 15, 2004) at 5–6 (“[Frankie] was trying to make friends with a girl and Irene got mad at him, took him out of town and her brother stabbed him. . . . Frankie was killed by Irene Lopez who was in a lesbian relationship. Irene had a brother who was involved in the killing. Irene went to prison. One of Frankie’s eyes was carved out in the killing.”);

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (Sept. 14, 2004) (“Freddy death [sic] also involved foul play. He was killed and his body dumped at [a park].”);

Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Freddy Schilling, Brother-in-Law of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 5, 2004) at 3 (“‘He [Frankie Hernandez] was in a relationship with a woman whose lover was a lesbian and the lover killed him. This happened in Robstown, Tex..’”);

Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Gloria Sanchez, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (July 21 and 23, 2004) at 3 (“GLORIA’S KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE HERNANDEZ FAMILY: . . . EFRA[I]N HERNANDEZ: Deceased—Murdered.”).

See supra notes 40, 41 and accompanying text.

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (Sept. 14, 2004) at 6;

James S. Liebman’s Notes on Interview with Janie Adrian, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez (Dec. 4, 2004) at 3 (“Gerardo was different from the rest [of the Hernandez family].”);

James S. Liebman’s Notes on Interview with Bea Martinez, Sister of Fidela Hernandez (November 3, 2005) at 1 (“Fidela went out to Calif[ornia] to visit Gerardo, and he told her she was no longer part of his family. He would stick with his wife’s family.”);

Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Gloria Sanchez, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (July 21 and 23, 2004) at 1 (“Gerardo Hernandez . . . cleaned his hands of that family and went in the service.”);

Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Freddy Schilling, Brother-in-Law of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 5, 2004) at 3 (“Once [Gerardo] was out of Corpus Christi he did not want anything to do with the family. He moved to California and worked for the Post Office.”).

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (Sept. 14, 2004) at 6.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Freddy Schilling, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 14:08:40.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Freddy Schilling, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 14:24:47 (“I’ll be honest with you, I was really scared of this dude. I mean, I fought him off for a long time. And I just wanted to leave it at that. I didn’t want things to escalate, maybe me killing him or him killing me, you know what I’m saying. . . . I knew eventually we were going to get to a point where we were going to hurt each other. One of us was going to hurt somebody real bad. But I wasn’t looking forward to it.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Freddy Schilling, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at [14:24:47].

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Marcella Brown, Friend of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 13:29:09 (“Well, Carlos, like I said, was an . . . Well, he’s an alcoholic. He drank, and when he drank he got very obnoxious.”);

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Beatrice Tapia, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 9, 2004) at 08:29:23 (“But . . . when Carlos Hernandez was drunk, well, that was a different side of Carlos Hernandez that I saw. He was, Carlos Hernandez was very aggressive. He was constantly, Carlos Hernandez was constantly mad at the world.”);

Lauren Eskenazi & Sita Sovin’s Notes on Interview with Janie Adrian, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez (Oct. 29, 2004) at 2 (“Carlos Hernandez was a heavy drinker who often talked and bragged.”);

Bruce Whitman’s Notes on Interview with Johnny Arsuaga, Cousin of Carlos Hernandez and John Arsuaga (Nov. 3, 2005) at 1–2 (“Carlos Hernandez was an alcoholic and the last time Johnny saw Carlos Hernandez was when Carlos Hernandez was living near Josephine [Solis, sister of Fidela Hernandez] at the Hudson address. Carlos Hernandez rode a bike to Josephine’s when he was drunk and fell off and passed out in the street in front of his aunt’s house.”);

James S. Liebman & Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (July 22, 2004) at 1 (“C[arlos] Hernandez was crazy when he drank.”);

Peso Chavez & James S. Liebman’s Notes on Interviews with Jon Kelly, Lawyer for Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 16, 18, 20, 2004) at 2 (describing Hernandez as a heavy drinker with an “[u]ngovernable temper after consumption of [a] large amount of alcohol”);

James S. Liebman’s Notes of Interview with Cruz Perez & Lisa Garza, Friends of Carlos Hernandez (Nov. 3, 2005) at 1 (“When CH [Carlos Hernandez] would drink . . ., he would get ‘mean.’”);

Peso Chavez’s Notes on Interview with Gloria Sanchez, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (July 21 and 23, 2004) at 1 (“Ms. Sanchez dated Carlos Hernandez in the late 70’s for approximately 6 to 8 months—he was dating other women as well. Ms. Sanchez’ brother, Johnny Longoria (deceased) was very upset with her because she was dating Carlos. He would tell her, ‘Nobody likes the guy—he is a crazy lunatic with a bad temper.’ According to Ms. Sanchez . . . his [Carlos Hernandez’s] sister Paula told me [the same thing].”);

Bruce Whitman’s Notes on Interview with Eddie Schilling, Nephew of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 8–9, 2004) at 1 (“Eddie spent time with his uncle Carlos Hernandez during his formative y[ea]rs. As long as he remembers [Carlos Herandez] was an alcoholic, who drank beer and hard liquor daily. . . . Eddie watched [his uncle] do crazy things including fighting, yelling, throwing things, slamming doors all of which frightened Eddie and his siblings.”).

Carlos Hernandez, Trial Test., Texas v. Jesse Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 939–40, 960 (“Q. ‘You do drink Schlitz, don’t you?’ [Carlos Hernandez:] ‘Yes. . . . Old Milwaukee is my favorite too.’”; testifying that he bought a six-pack of Schlitz beer the night of Dahlia Sauceda’s murder);

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Jon Kelly, Attorney for Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 9, 2004) at 06:47:13 (“[Carlos Hernandez drank] Cerveza. Beer. Whatever was popular at the time. If it was Miller Lite at the time or it was, nowadays it was Bud Lite, and I think we’re going back to Miller again, or Coors. He drank beer. Schlitz, I used to like Schlitz, and we would drink that.”);

Peso Chavez & James S. Liebman’s Notes on Interviews with Jon Kelly, Lawyer for Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 16, 18, 20, 2004) at 4 (“[Carlos Hernandez] drank beer; whatever was popular at the time. Falstaff, Jacks, Miller Lite.”);

Bruce Whitman’s Notes on Interview with Eddie Schilling, Nephew of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 8–9, 2004) at 1 (“[Carlos Hernandez] drank Bush or Bud beer”);

Lauren Eskenazi & Sita Sovin’s Notes on Interview with Mary Margaret Tapia, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (Oct. 28, 2004) at 2 (“He drank Schlitz or Miller Lite.”).

See supra note 42–44, 90.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Freddy Schilling, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 14:08:40;

see Transcribed Videotape Interview with Janie Adrian, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi (Dec. 5, 2004) at 07:32:08–07:33:28:

Q. Now did Carlos Hernandez drink?

A. Yes, a lot. He drinked a lot. And he was kind of like very—When he was drunk, the world was his. The world was his. It was like everything in the neighborhood belonged to Carlos. We couldn’t say nothing. He was always very abusive. . . . Like he was very, like he was somebody big, somebody that people wouldn’t say nothing to him. That he could do things and people wouldn’t say nothing.

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’”).

Chapter 6
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