HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 6
Page: 8 of 17
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All Chapter 6 Footnotes

Carlos’s jealous devotion to his sister Paula was another feature of his behavior that associates often recalled. Rita Hull saw a connection between that behavior and the events of December 30, 1970.

That night, Carlos wrecked a car belonging to Paula’s boyfriend.144 Sixteen at the time, Carlos was drunk and driving over 100 m.p.h. on a city street when he slammed on the brakes, skidded nearly 500 feet into the oncoming traffic lane, turned the car on its side and skidded again until the car crashed into another vehicle.

Only Carlos walked away unharmed.145 Paula and the people in the other car were badly injured. Paula’s fiancé Louis Sissimis was dead. Sissimis was nineteen and in the Air Force. He’d met the seventeen-year-old Paula while on leave, and they were quickly engaged. Described as “sweet” and “kindhearted” by family members, Louis was from a middle-class Greek family that owned a restaurant in town. He was the closest Paula ever came to escaping the life Fidela had predestined for her children.146

That night, Carlos had crashed a party the Sissimis family was giving on its yacht in the Corpus harbor, evidently to celebrate the upcoming wedding of Louis and Paula. Carlos was drunk, and Louis’s father was angry at Louis and Paula. Louis borrowed the keys to his father’s car to get Carlos away. The next thing the family heard, their son was at Memorial Hospital in a coma. He never awoke, and his parents never got over the death of their son.147

Carlos pled guilty to negligent homicide. After convincing probation officials that he was “sobered quite a bit by the effects of the recent accident,” and that the shock would mitigate the “character disorder” his prior record had indicated,148 Juvenile Department officials recommended probation, instead of time in the juvenile hall.149 This was the first of many convictions and charges Carlos ducked without serious consequences.150

People who knew Carlos said the accident did have one lasting effect on him—the guilt he felt towards Paula. He thought he owed her something.151 He would later find his own way to repay her.152

* * * * *

A few months after the accident, Fidela sent Carlos to live in Fremont, California. The move wasn’t because of the accident, juvenile authorities concluded, because Fidela had always “minimized” the car wreck and Sissimis’s death. Instead, it was her own difficulties with Carlos that led her to ship the boy out of town.153

Arrest Report for Carlos Hernandez, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Jan. 22, 1971) (“Reference an accident [Hernandez] was involved in on December 30, 1970.”);

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (Sept. 14, 2004) at 3 (“Carlos felt guilty for killing Louis [Sissamis] in the car accident and was trying to make it up to Paula by killing Dahlia [Sauceda]. Carlos was driving the car, Paula was in the front seat and Louie in the back when Carlos crashed the car killing Louie. They were celebrating the pending marriage of Paula and Louie.”);

Peso Chavez & James S. Liebman’s Notes on Interview with Gloria Sanchez, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 16, 2004) at 1 (“CH [Carlos Hernandez] in car accident killed Paula’s boyfriend, “Louie” Sissamis in accident. . . . Carlos driving, drunk. Night before wedding [of Paula and Louis]. . . . She [Sanchez] wonders: Did CH feel that his sister resented him for this, or did he feel bad. Is that what drove him.”).

Accident Report #70–7905, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Dec. 30, 1970) (noting that Carlos Hernandez was traveling in excess of 100 mph on a road with a 30 mph speed limit);

Case History for Carlos Hernandez, Clark J. Miller, Corpus Christi Juvenile Case Officer (Feb. 11, 1971) at 9 (“[Hernandez] was involved in the wreck of a car in which a passenger in his car that he was driving was killed. He was charged with excessive speeding and driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor.”);

Wrecks Kills Six in South Texas, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Jan. 1, 1971, at 1, 6:

Six persons were dead and 10 others injured as a result of traffic accidents in South Texas, late Wednesday night and yesterday . . . The injured, their hospitals and conditions are: . . . Lewis V. Sissmis, 19, Cabaniss Field mobile home park, critical condition, Memorial Medical Center . . . . At 11:20pm Wednesday, an automobile driven by Carlos Hernandez, 16, of 2302 Kinsolving, skidded 487 feet into the on-coming traffic lane in the 200 block of Morgan and collided broadside with a vehicle driven by Nicanor L. Zamora, 18 of 2905 Sokol. Both drivers were treated and released from Memorial [M]edical Center. Injured passengers in the Hernandez vehicle were Pauline Hernandez and Guadalupe Peña.

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (Sept. 14, 2004) at 3 (“Carlos felt guilty for killing Louis in the car accident and was trying to make it up to Paula by killing Dahlia [Sauceda]. Carlos was driving the car, Paula was in the front seat and Louie in the back when Carlos crashed the car killing Louie. They were celebrating the pending marriage of Paula and Louie.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Gloria Sanchez, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi (Feb. 23, 2005) at 10:48:14–10:48:55 (“I always felt that maybe Carlos felt guilty for what had happened and always tried to help Paula or gain back her love or whatever it was. Because I think, deep down, she did resent him.”);

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Freddy Schilling, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 14:45:54–14:47:04 (“[Paula] had a boyfriend. In fact, they were Greeks. I can’t recall what his name was. But anyhow, my wife was in love with him. His parents had just bought him a ’69 G.T.O.”);

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (Sept. 14, 2004) at 3 (“Carlos felt guilty for killing Louis in the car accident and was trying to make it up to Paula by killing Dahlia [Sauceda]. Carlos was driving the car, Paula was in the front seat and Louie in the back when Carlos crashed the car killing Louie. They were celebrating the pending marriage of Paula and Louie. Paula and Louie did not have sex before Louie died.”).

Peso Chavez & James S. Liebman’s Notes on Interview with Gloria Sanchez, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 16, 2004) at 1 (“CH [Carlos Hernandez] in car accident killed Paula’s boyfriend, “Louie” Sissamis in accident. . . . Carlos driving, drunk. Night before wedding [of Paula and Louis]. . . . She [Sanchez] wonders: Did CH feel that his sister resented him for this, or did he feel bad. Is that what drove him.”);

Danalynn Recer’s Notes on Interview with Elias Sissamis, Half Brother of Louis Sissamis (Aug. 20, 2004) at 1 (“Louis only lived with Elias’[s] family for a very short time. But, Elias says that Louis was thought of in the family as a ‘nice, kindhearted and sweet person just like his mother.’”).

Danalynn Recer’s Notes on Interview with Elias Sissamis, Half Brother of Louis Sissamis (Aug. 20, 2004) at 1 (“My father was never the same. This happened right around New Year’s and every year around New Year’s, my dad would get upset. He wouldn’t say anything, but his whole demeanor changed and we all knew why.”).

Case History for Carlos Hernandez, Clark J. Miller, Corpus Christi Juvenile Case Officer (Feb. 11, 1971) at 7–8, 9 (“Carlos appeared to be suffering some guilt reaction towards this accident”, and “did admit that he had been drinking at the time of the accident but stated that he was not aware that he was speeding . . . Carlos has been sobered quite a bit by the effects of the recent accident. He does realize the seriousness . . . .”; “The accident seem[s] to have had a very sobering effect on Carlos and he definitely is feeling some guilt because of this and because of the death of the fiancé of his sister.”).

Case History for Carlos Hernandez, Clark J. Miller, Corpus Christi Juvenile Case Officer (Feb. 11, 1971) at 3 (“Carlos Hernandez, Jr. was referred on a charge of negligent homicide. . . . Official reports and subject questioning indicates that Carlos had been driving the automobile of his sister’s boyfriend. . . . The accident ensued and the boyfriend, was killed, the sister was injured. . . . Judge Martineau agreed to follow the recommendations of this department by placing the boy on official probation for an indefinite period of time.”).

See supra note 115; infra notes 172, 177–183 and accompanying text; infra Chapter 7, notes 200–203 and accompanying text; infra Chapter 8, notes 26–44 and accompanying text; infra Chapter 9, notes 28–49, 90 and accompanying text; infra Chapter 15, notes 143–148, 181–182 and accompanying text; infra Chapter 17, notes 106–107 and accompanying text.

Case History for Carlos Hernandez, Clark J. Miller, Corpus Christi Juvenile Case Officer (Feb. 11, 1971) at 7–8 (“Carlos appeared to be suffering some guilt reaction towards this accident”, and “did admit that he had been drinking at the time of the accident but stated that he was not aware that he was speeding . . . Carlos has been sobered quite a bit by the effects of the recent accident. He does realize the seriousness . . . .”);

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (Sept. 14, 2004) at 3, 5 (“Carlos felt guilty for killing Louis in the car accident and was trying to make it up to Paula by killing Dahlia [Sauceda]. Carlos was driving the car, Paula was in the front seat and Louie in the back when Carlos crashed the car killing Louie. They were celebrating the pending marriage of Paula and Louie.”; “Carlos defended and protected Paula a lot. He protected her from abusive boyfriend Mencho, even though Carlos was friend with Mencho”);

James S. Liebman’s Notes on Interview with Rita Hull, Friend of the Hernandez Family (Nov. 4, 2005) at 1 (“RH [Rita Hull] Confirmed what she has told us previously: that Paula Hernandez knew from CH that he killed Dahlia. RH thinks CH did it to compensate for having killed Louie Sissamus.”);

James S. Liebman’s Notes on Interview with Gloria Sanchez, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 16, 2004) at 1 (“She wonders: Did CH feel that his sister resented him for [Louie Sissamis’s death], or did he feel bad. Is that what drove him.”).

See infra note 220 and accompanying text; infra Chapter 7, notes 16, 102–104, 215–218 and accompanying text.

Case History for Carlos Hernandez, Clark J. Miller, Corpus Christi Juvenile Case Officer (Feb. 11, 1971) at 7–9 (noting that Fidela “tended to minimize the situation” in which her son found himself as a result of the accident; that Carlos had been the “most serious problem in the family” after causing trouble in schools and dropping out, “evidenced some character behavior in the last several months” before the accident, “does not have any well-defined goals for his future,” and “began to be something of a problem to his mother by staying out late and so forth.”).

Chapter 6
Page: 8 of 17