HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 7
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On Peña's orders, Cruz infiltrated Hernandez's circle of young acolytes and attractive women. Cruz already had an in: he moonlighted as an early-morning newspaper distributor, and Hernandez sometimes worked the graveyard shift at a Maverick Market store on one of Cruz's routes.17 Cruz occasionally shot the breeze with Hernandez and his young guys on the sidewalk in front of the market while Hernandez had a smoke.18

Cruz learned where Hernandez and his group hung out and started showing up for a beer or a joint. They knew him as the newspaper guy and didn't think anything of it. In the meantime, Cruz reported what he learned to Peña.19

* * * * *

Peña took his suspicions about Hernandez to the police. He spoke to Sergeant Paul Rivera, a hard-charging detective who was helping on the case.20 Rivera already had doubts about the case against Garza. Detective Escobedo had asked him and his partner Eddie Garza (no relation to Jesse) to take Olivarez out in a squad car to confirm the route Dahlia's van took the night he saw Jesse kill her. Olivarez was clueless about where the van had gone.21

After hearing from Peña, Rivera asked the department's fingerprint expert to compare Hernandez's prints on file to ones found in the van, which police hadn't yet matched to anyone. Sure enough, the print on a Schlitz can found in the back of Sauceda's van matched Hernandez's.22

That same day, December 10, 1979, three weeks after the killing, Rivera arrested Hernandez on suspicion of murder and brought him in for questioning.23 At the time, Rivera found a locking buck knife with a blade several inches long in Carlos' pocket.24 Rivera also asked Carlos for a pair of his undershorts. The plaid undershorts matched the pair in the van—same brand, color, and size.25

Rivera didn't immediately tell Hernandez that they had matched his fingerprints to one found on a beer can in the back of the van. Nor did he mention the undershorts discovered in the van. Instead, Rivera asked Hernandez about his relationship to Dahlia Sauceda and where he was the night she was killed.26 In answer, Hernandez lied. He hadn't seen Sauceda in three months, he said, and was with a girl named Yolanda Rodriguez the whole night.27 Hernandez admitted these lies when he later testified at Jesse Garza's trial, explaining that he believed he had a right to mislead the police to keep from being sent back to prison.28

Rivera brought in a technician to run a lie detector test on Hernandez. The examination indicated deception on five questions: Do you know who killed Dahlia? Were you with Yolanda Rodriguez that night like you said? Did you kill Dahlia? Were you with Dahlia the night she died? Was your fingerprint in Dahlia's van? Carlos's story was so incoherent overall—he'd been smoking pot all day, he said—that the technician recommended another examination later on.29

Rivera then confronted Hernandez with the truth. Police had his fingerprint on a Schlitz can from the van, and the plaid boxer shorts found there matched the identical pairs Rivera had found at Hernandez's house. Carlos was lying when he said he hadn't seen Dahlia in months. He had been in the van that night, and everyone knew it.30

Right away, Hernandez said he wanted to make a phone call, which he did, speaking in Spanish, to his mother Fidela. The jail's tape-recording system caught Hernandez, on the verge of tears, begging Fidela to help get him out of jail. He reminded her of his fear of going back to prison and "what they did to me" the last time he was there.31

When police recovered and translated the tape some weeks later, they also learned that Carlos admitted to Fidela that he'd been with Dahlia that night, but said he was too drunk to remember what had happened. Ever the practical one, Fidela told her son to tell the police that he had been with Dahlia earlier.32 That's what he did.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Cruz, Private Investigator for Defendant Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 18:41:45–18:43:37 ("Anyway, I got involved in the case. Albert Peña gave me instructions on what he needed me to do. He said, 'I need you to get out there. No limit on time.' So I pledged to him that I would get out there. . . . It went on and on, and we built the case. The attorney, Albert Peña, would instruct me to go penetrate this little gang [around Hernandez].").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Cruz, Private Investigator for Defendant Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 18:41:45:

I mentioned earlier in my statement that I was a newspaper distributor. It so happens that—it was a 24/7 store located on Alameda and Dodd. It's a Maverick Market store. It was a 24/7 store, there weren't too many back then, stores that were open 24/7, but that was one of them. The store manager, or store clerk, or whatever they called them, happened to be Carlos Hernandez. So the fact that sometimes I had to deliver—I had guys that delivered papers for me, high school kids, and then whenever they didn't show up I had to make the newspaper deliveries that morning. So I knew Carlos Hernandez.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Cruz, Private Investigator for Defendant Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 19:11:29–19:11:54:

[C]arlos Hernandez was the top individual . . . I think that if Carlos Hernandez were to ask one of the guys—"go get this guy, he's a [inaudible Spanish word] or whatever . . . I think that the other guys would go out . . . . Cause on several occasions I'd see them at the store, and he'd tell them to go do this. Then I'd go inside and put the newspapers on the newspaper rack. And when I'd come back, those guys would be gone. You could see all the cigarette butts on the ground there, that they'd been smoking. They'd been there for a while, and all of a sudden he tells them to leave.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Cruz, Private Investigator for Defendant Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 18:43:37:

Because Carlos Hernandez would, every time we'd go there to deliver papers at three or four in the morning, he'd have a bunch of guys there, hanging around, smoking cigarettes and what not out in front of the store. Of course, they knew me as the newspaper man, and they'd talk with me, I'd be able to rap with them and what not. I got into this group to where they knew me a little bit better. And eventually I was able to go to Carlos Hernandez's apartment on Louisiana and one of those streets off Louisiana, towards Six Points area. I was able to go over there at night, around two in the morning. I'd make a point to be there. They have beer, and they'd pull out a joint or two. They had all kinds of things. And they also had women, girlfriends. Hernandez had girlfriends that would go visit with him. So then I got to be one of the guys in their group. Not a member, but one of the guys that was accepted into being there. And they would introduce me as the newspaper guy. So I report to Peña the next day and tell him what was going on.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Albert Peña, Lawyer for Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 17:46:04 ("So I decided to talk to the investigating officer. There were two of them, and I talked to Sergeant Paul Rivera. And I told him. I'd never met Mr. Rivera, but he was very, very cooperative. I told him, look, I have reason to believe its [sic] Carlos Hernandez. Of course, I didn't have proof, but I had reason to believe that he may have done the murder.").

See Paul Rivera, Corpus Christi Police Detective, Supplementary Report (July 16, 1986) at 2 ("Sgt. Paul Rivera and Sgt. Ray De La Garza took Pete Olivarez in an unmarked unit and when asked to take us to the crime scene, he was not able to find the crime scene where Dahlia Sauced[o]'s van was found.");

James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Paul Rivera, Corpus Christi Police Sergeant (July 14, 2004) at 1:

Jesse Garza—was innocent. We picked up Garza on Olivarez's statement; he was completely innocent. Pete Olivarez—mental disorder; confessed because of that. Had nothing to do with murder. Not involved in any way. He made up a story. Detective Sidney Smith—Put too much pressure on Olivarez during polygraph. Olivarez then confessed and gave the statement. Detective said what he (cop) knew about it, not Olivarez, and O[livarez] agreed. . . . [Rivera] [p]ut him in police car and told him to take him to where the lady [Sauceda] was killed. [He] didn't know where to go. Rivera asked [him] what the problem was and [he] said he didn't know. Rivera thinks the kid maybe made it up. Rivera asked him if he was making it up and [Olivarez] said yes; that the other detective scared him. Drove rear and still didn't know.

Charles Parker, Corpus Christi Police Fingerprint Analyst, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 603 ("Q. Did you then on December 10 compare the latent prints with known fingerprints of Carlos Hernandez? A. Yes, sir I did. . . . This particular latent card is matched with Carlos Hernandez and the latent print itself was taken off a Schlitz beer can which was—the print was lifted by Officer Sarah Cooks.").

Paul Rivera, Corpus Christi Police Detective, Supplementary Report (Dec. 14, 1979) at 1:

Upon talking to Carlos Hernandez, we told him that we needed to talk to him [in] reference [to] the Homicide involving [Dahlia] Sauceda. We asked him if he would accompany us to the police station. At which time he agreed to come to the station with us voluntarily. Immediately after this conversation took place reporting officer told Carlos Hernandez that he was also suspected as being involved in the above Homicide and read him his Constitutional Rights. Upon arriving at the station he was taken to an interview room . . . at which time, he acknowledged understanding and signed the card. It was witnessed by this officer and Officer Ray De La Garza and dated 12–10–79.

Kenneth Botary, Prosecutor at Trial of Jesse Garza and at Trial of Carlos DeLuna, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 1209 ("Q. And I told you that after having listened to that tape, I had reason to believe there was a knife in existence that had been taken from Carlos Hernandez? A. That's true. Q. And this was after the trial started? A. Yes, sir. Q. And then I asked you at that time if you knew anything about it and you told me that you didn't, is that correct? A. That is correct.");

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 815–16 (Q. And as far as you knew, [Carlos Hernandez's] knife was brought to court yesterday by Sergeant Rivera, turned over to the bailiff who turned it over to me? A. I know that Sergeant Rivera brought it here . . . .");

Carlos Hernandez, Suspect in Murder of Dahlia Sauceda and Other Killings, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 942–45 ("Q. [Did you] have a knife on you when Paul Rivera picked you up. A. Yes. . . . Q. What kind of knife was it? A. It was what they call a locked blade. . . . I think [the blade] was like this, not over four fingers [in length], just a little bit.").

Kenneth Botary, Prosecutor at Trial of Jesse Garza and at Trial of Carlos DeLuna, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 1218 ("I may be wrong, but I feel certain that I had known that [Detective] Rivera had gotten a pair of shorts [from Hernandez]. He told me during the conversation, I think is what it was.");

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 824–25:

Q. And who investigated Carlos Hernandez?

A. Sergeant Rivera.

Q. Does that explain why Sergeant Rivera was in possession of the knife and the shorts, Defendant's Exhibit 6 and the knife, Defendant's Exhibit 4; would that be a reasonable explanation of why he was in possession of them?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. But in any event, that still doesn't change the fact that you should have been notified that he had that evidence?

A. Yes, sir, I should have been notified.

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 824–25, 820–23 (comparing underwear taken from the van where Sauceda was murdered and from Carlos Hernandez and noting that they "match closely"—they were both size thirty-four, J.C. Penney's brand, and with cleaning instructions to machine wash and hot tumble dry);

Carlos Hernandez, Suspect in Murder of Dahlia Sauceda and Other Killings, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 1010 ("Q. Did [Detective] Paul [Rivera] ask you for a pair of your undershorts? A. Yes, sir. Q. Did you bring a pair or did he go to your house and pick them up? A. When he went to pick me up, he asked me for a pair. Q. Did you give him a pair? A. Yes, sir.");

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Dina Ybañez, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez (Dec. 7, 2004) at 03:49:04–03:50:30 (Q. Do you know what size clothes he [Carlos Hernandez] would wear? A. I think he wore a size 36, pants. 34, 36. We had given him some for Christmas before.").

Paul Rivera, Corpus Christi Police Detective, Supplementary Report (July 16, 1986) at 1 ("Carlos Hernandez, when first interviewed by this officer on 12–14–79, lied to this officer as to the length of time in which he knew Dahlia Saucedo.").

Paul Rivera, Corpus Christi Police Detective, Supplementary Report (Dec. 14, 1979) (quoting interrogation of Carlos Hernandez: "Q. When was the last time you saw Dahlia? [A. by Carlos Hernandez]: About three months ago at my house when she went to pick up $5.00. . . . Q. Where were you the night when Dahlia Sauceda was killed? [Hernandez]: I was with a female friend, Yolanda Rodriguez, stayed at her house. I don't know where she lives.").

Carlos Hernandez, Suspect in Murder of Dahlia Sauceda and Other Killings, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 1048, 1051:

Q. Now you said that you were afraid of going back to the penitentiary and you felt like that gave you the right to lie to the police, is that correct?

A. Yes, sir. . . .

Q. Are you still afraid of going back to the penitentiary?

A. Yes, sir, I am. . . .

Q. And you don't remember that you asked Mr. Botary and you told him about it, you said: "Look, I got some problems. I've had these two things pending against me. I'm out on bond. If they ask me, can I lie about them?"

A. I didn't ask him if I could lie about them.

Q. You didn't?

A. No, sir.

Q. But you did remember that Mr. Botary told you: "Don't lie about it."

A. Yes, sir.

Q. I wonder why he'd tell you that if you didn't ask him "Could I lie about it," or "Can I lie about it?"

A. (No response.)

See Carlos Hernandez, Suspect in Murder of Dahlia Sauceda and Other Killings, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 947–50 (admitting that he initially told Detective Rivera that he had not seen Dahlia on the night she was killed, even though he had seen her that night: "Q. Why didn't you want the police to know that you had seen her? A. At the time, I didn't want to get involved."); Carlos Hernandez, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 1007:

Q. Okay, my question is were you or were you not trying to hide the fact that you were with [Dahlia Sauceda] that night to Paul Rivera when he was interrogating you?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. You were trying to deny it?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Well, were you trying to deny it because you knew you were with her and you just tried to hide that fact?

A. No, sir.

Q. Well, I don't understand [why Hernandez lied to Detective Rivera]. Why don't you explain it to me? A. I was scared at the moment, frightened for what happened, the trouble she's caused since I was on parole and still on parole, and I was frightened anything could happen to me.

Carlos Hernandez, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 1007–08 ("Q. Well, did you tell Paul Rivera that you were with a friend by the name of Yoland [sic] Rodriguez that night? A. Yes, sir. Q. Were you, in fact, with Yolanda Rodriguez? A. No, sir. Q. Why did you tell him that? A. I couldn't think of anything else, sir.").

Edwin DeSha, Jr., Texas Dep't of Public Safety, Polygraph Report of Carlos Hernandez (Dec. 11, 1979) (reporting that the polygraph test results were inconclusive; "Evaluation of this subject's polygrams were professionally impossible due to the inconsistency of the responses that were noted. It was suggested by this examiner that the subject be returned to this office at a later date for re-examination."; identifying deceptive answers in response to: "DYK [do you know] who killed Dahlia; DYK the person that killed Dahlia; did you hit Dahlia that nite [sic]; were you with the person that killed Dahlia; DYK Jesse Garza; Did you kill Dahlia.");

Paul Rivera, Corpus Christi Police Detective, Supplementary Report (December 14, 1979) at 2 ("Reporting officer then made arrangements with Eddie De Shea the DPS polygraph examiner to give subject, Carlos Hernandez a polygraph examination. Reporting officers went to the DPS building and Mr. Eddie De Shea gave subject two polygraph tests and according to Mr. Eddie De Shea the results were inconclusive.").

Paul Rivera, Corpus Christi Police Sergeant, Supplementary Report (Dec. 14, 1979) at 1 (noting that Carlos Hernandez's fingerprints were on a Schlitz beer can found in the van, but when asked to disclose the last time he had seen Dahlia, Carlos replied he had not seen her for three months).

See supra Chapter 6, notes 47–49, 173–174 and accompanying text.

Carlos Hernandez, Suspect in Murder of Dahlia Sauceda and Other Killings, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 949–50:

Q. And again I'm going to ask you, you didn't tell your mother on the telephone: 'I don't remember if I saw her. They tell me that the fingerprints were found, but I don't remember seeing her.

A. At the time I didn't remember, sir.

Q. Oh, now you want to change? You did tell your mother you didn't remember [what happened when he (Hernandez) was with Dahlia the night she was killed]?

A. I didn't. I told her I didn't remember.

Q. That you didn't remember?

A. That I didn't remember.

Q. That's when your mother suggested to you: "Well, tell the police that you saw her earlier. Tell them that you saw her earlier." Your mother told you that?

A. This year earlier.

Q. But your mother told you to tell them that, didn't she?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. You remember that?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. And that's before you told the police: "Yes, I saw her, but I saw her much earlier than the incident."

A. Yes, sir.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Albert Peña, Lawyer for Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 17:48:50–17:50:33 ("Because on that tape recording was a tape recording that Carlos Hernandez had made at the jail. He called his mother. And in that conversation he tells his mother, 'They've got me down here, they say I killed Dahlia.' And she asks, 'Well, did you?' 'I don't know, I was so out of it, I don't know what I did. I saw her that night, but I don't remember.' And that was dynamite. He didn't even remember whether he did it or not.").

Chapter 7
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