HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 7
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All Chapter 7 Footnotes

When Rivera re-interviewed Hernandez later the same day, Carlos admitted to having sex with Dahlia in her van the night she was killed and leaving Schlitz cans and his undershorts behind.33 But he said he'd last seen her alive, hours before she was killed.

He'd run into Dahlia twice that night, Carlos told Rivera. Both times, he'd gone to the 7-Eleven on Staples and Mary near Fidela's house to buy some beer. The first was around 10 p.m. When he came out, Dahlia was sitting there in her van with her baby and offered him a ride home. When he got in, they talked about having sex, and she made a detour to an alleyway behind the Old Apache Bar on Tancahua Street.34

Carlos said they had sex in the back of the van for fifteen or twenty minutes, then she drove him home. Not long afterwards, he went back to the 7-Eleven for more beer, and there was Dahlia again, outside in the van with her baby. This time, she took him straight home. It was around midnight.35

Rivera called in the polygraph technician again, and again Carlos's statements indicated deception on several questions: Do you know who killed Dahlia? Were you the person that killed Dahlia? Do you know Jesse Garza (Hernandez said he didn't)? Did you kill Dahlia? Again, "evaluation of this subject's polygrams [was] professionally impossible due to the inconsistence of the responses."36

Hernandez never explained why he left his undershorts in the van the first time or why he didn't retrieve them when he was in Dahlia's van a little later.

When the private investigators asked Fidela about the Sauceda killing in 2004, she wouldn't say whether or not Carlos killed Dahlia, although she had repeatedly told friends that he did.37 Fidela did tell the investigators that Carlos came home that morning at about 4:30 a.m., long after he said Dahlia dropped him off the second time.38

* * * * *

The decision whether to charge Hernandez with the murder or stick with Garza lay with lead detective Olivia Escobedo and Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Botary. Escobedo knew that Hernandez's fingerprint had been found in the van,39 had seen reports from Sergeant Rivera and the polygraph technician on Hernandez's shifting statements,40 and had listened to the tape of Carlos's phone call to Fidela. But she never brought him in for questioning.41

Botary knew Garza's lawyer Peña would try to blame the crime on Hernandez and told Carlos to come in to talk. Carlos came in with a tape recorder and demanded to record the interview.42 Botary let him, and made his own recording and transcript of the interview. There were references to the transcript at Garza's trial—Carlos apparently asked Botary during the interview if he could lie to the jury—but the full contents are unknown.43 Whatever Carlos said convinced the Assistant D.A. to take Garza to trial and leave Hernandez out of it.

Escobedo's and Botary's unwillingness to change course didn't surprise Peña. Police and prosecutors don't like to admit mistakes, he said later.44 Besides, the story was getting a lot of press: a naked woman discovered raped and murdered in the back of her van, her two-year-old child nearby. People wanted quick action.45 Escobedo and Botary had no interest in looking indecisive or letting the investigation drag on.46

Escobedo and Botary had already charged Garza, and they had a trump card that beat whatever Peña had on Carlos Hernandez—eyewitness Pedro Olivarez, Jesse Garza's friend, who said he saw Jesse Garza kill Dahlia Sauceda.

image

Figure 19: (Upper left) Police photographs of Jesse Garza's bruised hands after he punched the wall while being interrogated about the Sauceda murder. (Upper right) Pedro Olivarez after his arrest for the murder. (Middle left) Garza and (middle center and right) Olivarez in happier times at the Casino Club. (Bottom) Casino Club patrons in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

* * * * *

Paul Rivera, Corpus Christi Police Sergeant, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 1238, 1246 ("Q. And did [Hernandez] tell you those were his shorts, the ones found in the van? A. Yes. Q. And did he tell you why it was that he left his shorts in the van? A. He said he just forgot them."; "Q. Is that when [Hernandez] turned around [changed his initial story] and gave you this statement? A. When I told him about the fingerprints, he started getting kind of shaky. He told me that he had been involved sexually with Dahlia [that night].");

see Carlos Hernandez, Suspect in Murder of Dahlia Sauceda and Other Killings, Statement to Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Dec. 10, 1979) at 1 (quoted infra notes 34–35).

Carlos Hernandez, Suspect in Murder of Dahlia Sauceda and Other Killings, Statement to Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Dec. 10, 1979) at 1:

On a Monday, 11–19–79 sometime around 10:00PM, I had gone to the 7–11 Store at Staples & Mary to talk to the lady who works there and I wound up buying a six pack of Schlitz Beer. Coming out of the store I saw Dahlia Sauceda in her van parked at the parking lot, she was holding her baby girl on her lap. Dahlia asked me where I was going and I told her that I was going home. She gave me a ride home but before she took me home we went cruising for a little while. Dahlia dro [sic] to Tancahua Street and parked at a driveway next to the Old Apache Bar on Tancahua Street. We had already talked about having sex and Dahlia took all her clothes off and I took all my clothes off too. We had sexual intercourse for about 15–20 minutes. After we finished she put her clothes on and I also put my clothes on except for my underwear which I left in Dahlia's Van. Dahlia was wearing a small type blouse and blue jeans. The shorts I left in the van were boxer type shorts and I don't remember what color or brand they were. After having intercourse Dahlia took me home at 217 Carrizo Street.

Carlos Hernandez, Suspect in Murder of Dahlia Sauceda and Other Killings, Statement to Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Dec. 10, 1979) at 1 ("Sometime around 11:40PM I walked to the 7–11 Store on Staples and Mary to buy another six pack of Schlitz Beer. Coming out of the store I saw Dahlia again parked outside in her van. She was with her little baby girl . . . Dahlia offered me a ride to my house. I got in the van and she drove me straight to my house, [sic] This about 12:00Midn [sic]. She left me at the my [sic] house. She didn't say where she was going. That is the last time I saw Dahlia. [sic]").

Edwin DeSha, Jr., Texas Dep't of Public Safety, Polygraph Report of Carlos Hernandez (Dec. 11, 1979) (noting the 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.").

Bruce Whitman's Notes on Interview with Mary Margaret Tapia, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (Sept. 24 and 26, 2004) at 5 (reporting that, according to Fidela Hernandez, "Carlos Hernandez confessed [to Fidela] that he had murdered Dahlia Sauced[a] in 1979");

Bruce Whitman's Notes on Interview with Janie Adrian, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez (Sept. 23–24 and 27, 2004) at 4 ("On one occasion, when Janie and Fidela were getting ready to go out, Fidela confided to Janie that: 'When he was drinking he told me "we" killed somebody. Carlos always said "we" [to refer to himself].' This conversation took place after [July 1979 when] Carlos Hernandez and Margie broke off their relationship.");

Bruce Whitman's Notes on Interview with Fidela Hernandez, Mother of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 7, 2004) at 2 ("'I will not say my son did not do it [kill Dahlia Sauceda] I was not with him that night.'");

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi's Notes on Interview with Beatriz Castro, Neighbor of Fidela Hernandez (Oct. 23, 2004) at 5 ( "Fidela told Beatriz that while she believed CH killed Dahlia Salceda [sic], she would never tell anyone . . . .").

Bruce Whitman's Notes on Interview with Fidela Hernandez, Mother of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 7, 2004) at 2 ("Ch [Carlos Hernandez] returned home at 4:30 a.m. the next morning [after Dahlia Sauceda was killed]. Fh [Fidela Hernandez] was asleep but woke up when ch returned and asked him if he was going to go to work that day and ch told fh no he had a hang over. The next day the police came to the house and arrested ch and said they had found ch's underwear in ds's [Dahlia Sauceda's] van . . . .").

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 364 ("Q. But you do remember there was a Schlitz can in there? A. Yes, sir. Q. And you do remember that the fingerprint was lifted off that? A. I was informed it was. Q. Now aside from the fingerprint lifted or was there more than one print lifted? A. To the best of my information, one print was lifted off the beer can.").

Tamara Theiss's Notes on Interview with Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases (Feb. 27. 2005) at 2 ("I remember that Carlos Hernandez was also questioned, along with Olivarez and Garza, and that all three men were given polygraph exams").

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 813–814, ("Q. After listening to that tape-recorded conversation [between Hernandez and his mother], did you not feel like there might be a knife? A. To be very frank, I didn't pay that close attention to the tape . . . Q. Have you ever talked to Carlos Hernandez? A. No, sir, I personally have not.").

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 1049, 1051:

Q. Now when you came in to talk with Mr. Botary, did you have a tape recorder with you?

A. Yes, sir, I did.

Q. In other words, you wanted to tape record questions that he asked and the responses that you gave?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you have a list of questions with you?

A. Yes, sir, I did . . .

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.)

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 1048–1049.("Q. Yesterday after I spoken to you, I was able to read a transcript of a conversation you had with Mr. Botary on January 7, 1980 . . . do you remember coming down and speaking with Mr. Botary? A. Yes, sir I do.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Albert Peña, Lawyer for Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 17:58:08–17:59:26 ("And it's very difficult for the police mentality to admit error. How do you explain to the public that they messed up?—Police will not admit that they did wrong. They will not. Very rarely you'll have some innocent or some truthful guy admit that he made a mistake. But normally they—You can show them anything, in black and white, on video, and they will deny it, that 'We're right and you're wrong.' That is the mentality of the police department then and now.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Albert Peña, Lawyer for Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 17:47:09–17:48:50 ("[T]hey don't want to mess up a case that's too tidy. And it happened that Lieutenant Malcolm Pace had just been made the chief of homicide, and he wanted an arrest quickly, because he didn't want his first homicide to go unsolved. So they picked up Jesse pretty quick, without continuing the investigation.");

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Cruz, Private Investigator for Defendant Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 18:40:07–18:41:45 ("Back then, I don't think we had a war going on. We didn't have anything going in the community worthy of front-page coverage. So this thing that happened was a perfect thing to put on the front page. So day after day after day the community was demanding that they find the murderers of this young lady, Dahlia Sauceda. So apparently the police department was very active, heavy on trying to get the murder solved.");

Jay Jordan, Nude Woman Found Dead in Van, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Nov. 21, 1979;

Jay Jordan, Man Being Held in Beating Death, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Nov. 30, 1979;

Christy Hoppe, County Grand Jury Indicts Man for Beating Death of Woman, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Dec. [date unknown] 1979.

See Transcribed Videotape Interview with Albert Peña, Lawyer for Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 17:58:08–17:59:26 ("And it's very difficult for the police mentality to admit error. How do you explain to the public that they messed up?—Police will not admit that they did wrong. They will not. Very rarely you'll have some innocent or some truthful guy admit that he made a mistake. But normally they—You can show them anything, in black and white, on video, and they will deny it, that 'We're right and you're wrong.' That is the mentality of the police department then and now.");

see also Tamara Theiss's Notes on Interview with Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases (Feb. 27. 2005) at 2 ("That [Dahlia Sauceda] case was a terrible case because of the way that Ms. Sauceda had been cut, and that the little girl had been in the van with her. I remember that there was a lot of news about that case because of Ms. Sauceda's injuries and the little girl being in the van.").

Chapter 7
Page: 3 of 18