HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 7
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All Chapter 7 Footnotes

Prosecutor Botary next called Detective Olivia Escobedo to testify about the police investigation she'd been assigned to lead. Peña had gotten wind that the other detectives were going behind her back, and the wily defense lawyer used the information to make her look foolish.87

Escobedo admitted, for example, that when she decided to push the charges against Garza and let Hernandez off the hook, no one had told her that Hernandez had been arrested with a large lock-blade knife in his pocket and with boxer shorts matching those in the van.88

"I don't feel that I was kept informed throughout the whole investigation," she told the jury, tearing down her own case.89

Escobedo admitted that she never asked the state crime lab to test the undershorts in the van to see if they were stained with Dahlia's blood—an "oversight," she called it.90 She acknowledged paying little attention to Hernandez's jailhouse phone call to his mother when she listened to it.91

"I guess I was hearing it, but was not listening," she explained, when asked how she missed the importance of Carlos's statement that he'd been with Dahlia that night, and of Fidela's advice to say he had been with Dahlia "earlier."92

Things got even worse for Botary's case when he questioned Roger Fuentes, Garza's stepbrother and roommate, who had told police that Garza didn't come home the night Dahlia was killed. Surprising Botary, Fuentes testified to the jury that Garza was at home the night Dahlia was killed.93 Fuentes had only said something different to the police, he explained, after four intimidating interrogators had made him think he had to say something or he'd be charged with the crime himself.94

Prosecutors don't usually call a witness to give the defendant an alibi, but that is exactly what Botary did, based on the investigation Escobedo led.

* * * * *

Peña wasn't content, however, simply to poke holes in the state's case. He wanted the jury to know exactly who committed the crime the state was trying to pin on his client. The only sure way to free his innocent client, he believed, was to "prosecute" Carlos Hernandez.

The defense lawyer began with the best evidence the police themselves had of who was with Dahlia in the back of her van before her bloodied and naked body was found.

Through a police expert, Peña showed that Hernandez's fingerprint was on a Schlitz can in the back of the van.95 Through other witnesses, he showed that the pair of distinctive red plaid boxer shorts found near the victim's body didn't match the style or size of underwear worn by Jesse Garza, but were the same as boxers found at Carlos's house when Sergeant Rivera arrested him on suspicion of killing Dahlia.96

Peña also homed in on the weapon the killer used.

After casting doubt on Olivarez's testimony that a dull rusty steak knife, without any blood or flesh on it, was the source of the precise 'X' carved into Dahlia's back and the mutilation of her toe,97 Peña repeatedly reminded the jury of the large lock-blade knife found on Carlos Hernandez.98 Several witnesses, including Hernandez's own mother, confirmed his fondness for buck knives and his expertise in their use.99

Dr. Joseph Rupp, the medical examiner Botary called to testify about the cause of death, helped Peña establish a motive. Based on Rupp's lengthy experience with homicide cases, he believed that the single 'X' carved into Dahlia's back was not the random act of a "casual pickup," such as Garza, but of someone who knew the victim, had a "sadistic" intention, and wanted to send a message.100

The 'X' "has a meaning," Dr. Rupp testified. "The exact meaning, I'm not sure of, but . . . this was just not a random thing. This was a mark on her to show [her] something or him something or someone else something."101

Joseph Rupp, Nueces County Medical Examiner, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 698–700:

Well, on the basis of the little bit of information you get, you can't draw any conclusion on the basis of this one incident in a suspect's life. What you can say from this is that in the broadest general sense, it has a sadistic element in it and that the assailant in all probably knew the deceased. Now when I say knew, I mean that they just hadn't met an hour before or, you know, casual pickup and is killed in this manner and marked in this manner; that it would indicate to me that the subjects the people involved, knew each other, not well, but that there had been some knowledge of each other in the past, not necessarily well, but that they knew each other. . . . Well, this is again difficult to explain in a few words, but basically the subject is only marked once. It's not a frenzied type of killing where there is mutilation. The marking served some purpose. The single marking in the mind of the individual served some purpose. Had this been a sadistic killer who picked up this girl and killed her not knowing her, but just to gratify his perverted sexual sadism, there would have been all kinds of mutilation; but this is a single, really a single mutilation, and a single bite mark. It's not extensive, therefore, there must have been a reason to inflict this single marking. It has a meaning. The exact meaning, I'm not sure of, but it would indicate that this was just not a random thing. This was a mark on her to show either something or him something or someone else something.

See supra note 100.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Albert Peña, Lawyer for Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 18:17:20–18:17:55 ("As I recall, [Escobedo] had just become involved in homicide cases. She was actually supposed to be the person in charge. But male chauvinism being what it is, she wasn't really in charge. . . . I remember that there was obviously 'She's a woman? Keep her to the side. You don't have to let her in on everything, even though she's the person in charge of this homicide investigation.'").

Pedro Olivarez, Witness Against Jesse Garza in Trial for Murdering Dahlia Sauceda, 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 [Paul] 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 809–10:

Q. Where—what do you mean—would you tell the jury what you mean by coordinating the investigation?

A. In other words, I would—in this case I made the preliminary investigation which was at the crime scene. From that point on, I should have received—had all the information coming to me, and of course, I would relay it to [Chief of Homicide] Lieutenant Pace and check the information and make sure everything was being done and what was being done and how it was being done.

Q. All right, and this was just initially; it wasn't just supposed to proceed like that through the entire thing?

A. That's the way it was supposed to be.

Q. Throughout?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. You say it was supposed to; is that the way it actually went?

A. I don't feel that I was kept informed throughout the whole investigation.

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 865–66 ("Q. Now as far as the men's underwear are concerned, did you remove or did you have that pair of shorts, that pair of men's underwear, did you have them sent to the lab to determine whether or not there was any pubic matter on that set of shorts? A. No, sir. Q. Alright, and why was this not done? A. Oversight on my part.").

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 813–14:

Q. Were you aware of a tape-recorded conversation between Carlos Hernandez and his mother?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you listen to that tape-recorded conversation?

A. I did listen to it.

Q. After listening to that tape-recorded conversation, did you feel like there might be a knife?

A. To be very frank, I didn't pay that close attention to the tape.

Q. To the conversation?

A. To the conversation.

Q. You just kind of listened to it, but not really paid that much attention to it?

A. I guess I was hearing it, but I was not listening.

See supra note 91.

Roger Fuentes, Stepbrother of Jesse Garza, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 1161:

And we came back and us three were eating and Pete went to sleep and I went to sleep and Marty and Junior stayed up slap boxing. Then the next morning, we woke up and that was Tuesday and Marty went to work and Junior went to work and Pete, he wanted, you know, something like they run him out of the house, and he wanted a place to stay, and he told Marty he would find a job that same day. He left around ten in the morning and we didn't look for no jobs. I left to my mother's house and he called this girl to tell them to pick him up and that's the last time I saw Pete.

Roger Fuentes, Stepbrother of Jesse Garza, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 1174 ("Q. And isn't it also true that not just one police officer, but two or three or, maybe, four police officers were talking to you at the same time? A. That's right. Q. And they were all telling you how much trouble you were in? A. Yes, sir. Q. Were you scared? A. Yes. Q. Had the police ever talked to you and accused you of being involved in a murder before? A. No, sir. Q. Is that why you signed the statement? A. That's right.").

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.").

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report in Dahlia Sauceda Homicide (Nov. 1979) at 1 ("On the right of the bar [in the back of the van] on the floor, laying between the bar and a captain's chair is a pair of men's cotton underwear, with a red, white, and blue design on the[m].");

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 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, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 1010 ("Q. Did Paul 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 Albert Peña, Lawyer for Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 17:43:40 ("And there was also some J.C. Penney boxer shorts of a certain design, 36 [sic, 34] inch waistline. . . . And my client [Jesse Garza] was a very thin individual, those boxer shorts wouldn't have stayed up more than two seconds.").

Sidney L. Smith, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Dahlia Sauceda Case, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 439 ("Q. Is it a rusty knife or not? A. Yes, rusty bladed knife. Q. What about the edge. Does it have a sharp edge on it? A. No, it's got a very dull, jagged edge. Q. Would you say it has nicks in it or is it clean? A. It's got nicks. Q. Is this the knife you showed Pete Olivarez? A. Yes.").

Carlos Hernandez, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 943 (testifying that when police picked him up in connection with the Sauceda killing, they found a lock-blade knife in his possession);

Paul Rivera, Corpus Christi Police Detective, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 1253 (discussing "a locking blade buck knife" that he "took from [Carlos Hernandez]").

Fidela Hernandez, Mother of Carlos Hernandez, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 926 ("Q. Does Carlos carry a knife? A. At work, yes.");

Freddy Schilling, Brother-in-Law of Carlos Hernandez, Trial Test., Texas v. Jesse Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 880 ("Q. Does [Carlos Hernandez] always carry a knife? A. I guess since I've known him . . . . [I've known him] close to two years, since he's been out of the penitentiary.").

Chapter 7
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