Armed with that last bit of information, Peña then accused Carlos of crying to his mother for help in fabricating a story. The best Carlos could come up with in response was that Fidela hadn't really helped because she'd meant "earlier" in the year, not earlier that night.125
Peña also repeatedly used Hernandez's habits and pride against him. The lawyer demonstrated Carlos's facility with knives by using him as an expert to explain how a buck knife is different from a pocket knife (it has only one, longer blade, that locks) and why he preferred buck knives over others (less chance of cutting himself).126
Radiating contempt, Peña mocked Hernandez for his low scores on the pinball machine at the 7-Eleven,127 for watching cartoons (part of Carlos's alibi on the night of the crime),128 and for twice running out of the van without his underwear.129
When Hernandez struggled with a question, Peña asked him if he wanted to consult his mother before answering. When Hernandez couldn't suppress a smile, the lawyer pressed him about what was funny at a murder trial.130 The lawyer got the witness to mark on a map where the van with Dahlia's body was left and where Carlos and his mother lived a few blocks away, then made an aside about how well Carlos drew "X's."131
"I got him real angry," Peña said later. Carlos's "hot temper . . . played right into my hands."132
* * * * *
The jury found Jesse Garza not guilty of killing Dahlia Sauceda. After the trial, some of the jurors approached Peña and asked him why Hernandez hadn't been charged in place of Garza.133 Having wondered that himself, Peña gave his opinion: Botary and Escobedo, he told the jurors, "had already narrowed in on one guy, and they were not going to go off that road, come hell or high water." That's "the nature of the beast," Peña explained. Law enforcement "will not admit that they're wrong, especially when they already had a person in custody . . . ."134
* * * * *
Peña won his case without playing every card he had. He didn't call Gloria Licea to testify.
Licea was Carlos's former girlfriend135 and a close friend of Paula's. At one point after Dahlia was killed, Paula walked out on Freddy and moved in with Gloria.136 Carlos was often over at Gloria's house wanting to talk to his sister. Gloria overheard their conversations, and Paula confirmed what Carlos had said—"they were never going to be able to prove it, but he had been the one that killed [Dahlia]."137
Paula wouldn't give the information to Peña's investigator when he came by to interview her, so Gloria went to Peña herself. The lawyer sent her to the police, who recorded her statement but never followed up.138
Out of concern for Gloria's safety and that of her young daughters, Peña decided to leave her out of the trial.139 She had reason to be afraid. While dating Carlos, she complained about her ex-husband. Soon afterwards, some guys jumped her ex and stabbed him with an ice pick, saying it was payback for treating Gloria badly. Then Carlos stalked Gloria herself after she broke up with him.140
* * * * *
In 1986, six years after Jesse Garza was acquitted, police arrested Carlos Hernandez for the murder of Dahlia Sauceda. The case had gone unsolved, and the arrest was big news. The Corpus Christi Caller-Times printed a picture of Paul Rivera and Eddie Garza taking Carlos into custody.141
Carlos Hernandez, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 949, 951 ("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. . . . [A]re you ready to tell the jury the truth? A. Yes, sir. Q. Are you ready to tell them without fear that you might become further involved? A. Yes, sir, I believe so. Q. Would you like to talk to your mother first?").
Carlos Hernandez, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 943–44, 945 ("Q. What is a locked blade knife? A. I believe it's a buck knife, sir. . . . . Q. Well, what do you mean by a locked blade; does the blade, once you open it, that's not a locked blade, is that right? A. No, sir, it's not. Q. Does it just have one blade? A. Yes, sir. Q. So this knife here [indicating a pocket knife], if it were a locked blade, it wouldn't close up, right? A. It wouldn't close up. Q. You just lock the blade? A. It would lock by itself . . . It won't bend . . . . That's why I used it for work."; describing a locked blade knife as being longer than a pocket knife).
Carlos Hernandez, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 963–64 ("Q. Javier, your brother, is a good pinball player, isn't he? A. Yes, sir. Q. In fact, sometimes his name is up there as having the highest score? A. I don't know about that. Q. You've never seen his name up there getting the highest score on the pinball machine? A. No, sir. Q. He's better than you are? A. Yes, sir.").
Carlos Hernandez, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 952, 954–55, 959, 985, 1027:
Q. What did you watch on T.V.?
Q. You watched what?
A. Cartoons. . . .
Q. And what did you do at South Bluff [Park]?
A. Sat around for a while.
Q. By yourself?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. What were you thinking about?
A. Just thinking.
Q. Were you drinking?
A. No, sir.
Q. You were thinking about the cartoons you had seen earlier or what?
A. I guess so.
Q. How long did you sit there thinking?
A. About half an hour.
Q. And what did you decide to do after you stopped thinking about the cartoons?
A. I got up and walked away. . . .
Q. Why are you so sure [of the last time you were at the 7-Eleven]?
A. Because I was going to watch the movie on HBO that comes on at eight o'clock.
Q. Was it a cartoon movie?
A. No, sir. . . .
Q. Where did you go from there?
A. I went into an area like a little play deal, square, got boards on it, got a little ladder in the center, and I slept there for a while.
Q. Thinking about the cartoons again?
A. No, sir, I just fell asleep.
Carlos Hernandez, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 974, 1027 ("Q. Why did you leave your shorts in the van? A. We heard a noise and I rapidly put my pants on. Q. You were frightened? A. Yes, sir. Q. Did you check to see what the noise was? A. No, sir."; "Q. Did you look out the front of the van when you heard this noise? A. No, sir, I was too busy putting my pants on, sir. Q. Is that why you forgot your underpants? A. Yes, sir.").
Carlos Hernandez, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 951, 982 ("Q. Well, let's see, tell this jury about—well, are you ready to tell the jury the truth? A. Yes, sir. Q. Are you ready to tell them without fear that you might become further involved? A. Yes, sir, I believe so. Q. Would you like to talk to your mother first?"; "Q. Did she [Dahlia] take you home [after they had sex in the van]? A. Straight home, on the corner of Carrizo and Kinney. That's the last time I saw her. Q. Why do you smile? Is it funny that she should take you home? A. It's not funny.")
Carlos Hernandez, Trial Test., Texas v. Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Jan. 31, 1980) at 1047–48:
Q. Would you put a little X right around there to try to make the intersection of the place right about where you live?
A. Right there, I believe.
Q. Would you put a little X where approximately the Apache Bar is?
A. Right around there. (Indicating)
Q. Would you put a little X at the intersection of Mexico and Mussett?
A. About here, sir. (Indicating) . . . .
Q. All those three X's are pretty close to each other?
A. Yes, sir, they are.
Q. Those X's are those the same type of X you made on Dahlia Sauceda's back?
A. I didn't do any such thing, sir.
Q. But you do know how to make X's, do you not?
A. In writing, yes.
Transcribed Videotape Interview with Albert Peña, Lawyer for Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 17:50:33–17:52:00 ("But in any event, I had a lot of fun with him. He was about ready to come out of there with that knife at me. I got him real angry at me. He obviously had a hot temper, which played right into my hands.").
Transcribed Videotape Interview with Albert Peña, Lawyer for Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 18:19:15:
After the trial was over, three or four jurors approached me and asked me, "Why was Jesse Garza not out on bond?" And I said, "He couldn't afford to be out on bond." And they asked me, "How come they didn't indict Carlos Hernandez?" And I told them, "Well, because they have blinders on, the law enforcement. And they had already narrowed in on one guy and they were not going to go off that road, come hell or high water. Because it's the nature of the beast. They will not admit that they're wrong, especially when they already had a person in custody . . . . Obviously they weren't going to admit they had him in custody for a year without having any hard evidence other than the poor guy that they intimidated."
See also Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Cruz, Private Investigator for Defendant Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 19:32:57–19:35:15:
I think that they were reluctant to go back on the reports that the district attorney's office was presenting to the media. Like I indicated earlier, this thing was constant, this murder was on every day for a week or ten days, just constant . . . . They were reluctant to look back or take back any understatements or overstatements or what not. I think that's the reason [the district attorney did not immediately prosecute Carlos Hernandez for Sauceda's murder].
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 sister Paula told me [the same thing].'");
Peso Chavez & James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Gloria Sanchez, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 16, 2004) at 1 ("[Gloria Sanchez] hooked up with [Carlos Hernandez]: Gloria got married, then was separated. Freddy [sic] (Schilling) was friend of her brother Johnny Longoria. GS [Gloria Sanchez] met Paula thru Johnny; Paula introduced her to CH [Carlos Hernandez]. 'My ex would come and Carlos Hernandez would hide in the bedroom.'");
see also supra Chapter 6, note 195 and accompanying text.
Transcribed Videotape Interview with Gloria Sanchez, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 23, 2005) at 10:59:14 ("When Paula was still living with me, and around the time that Dahlia was killed, Carlos would call and would want to talk to her. And I always noticed she wouldn't be doing the talking. She wouldn't be talking, you know, I guess it would be him. And whenever she would hang up, she'd say, well, 'He said that he did it [killed Dahlia Sauceda], but they're never going to be able to prove it.'");
Peso Chavez & James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Gloria Sanchez, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 16, 2004) at 2 ("Paula and Freddy split up; G[loria]'s sister had moved out, so Paula moved in."; recalling that Carlos Hernandez "said to Paula over [the] phone that he had killed Dahlia S. and they would never find out that he had done it.").
Transcribed Videotape Interview with Albert Peña, Lawyer for Jesse Garza in Dahlia Sauceda Case, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 25, 2005) at 18:06:05 ("Gloria Licea . . . was very helpful. She was one of our sources.");
Transcribed Videotape Interview with Gloria Sanchez, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 23, 2005) at 10:56:30–10:58:34:
Then one day, this investigator—Paula had already moved out of the house and this investigator had come over to her apartment. And I was there with her, and he said he wanted to talk to her about Dahlia. So I stayed out of the room, and when he left she told me that they're investigating who killed Dahlia, because some guy was being accused. And I asked her, "Well, what was his [the investigator's] name and what was his number?" And the next day I called him. And I told him that, when Paula was living with me, Carlos used to come over to the house a lot, and he would always tell her that they were never going to be able to prove it, but he'd been the one that had killed her. And she would tell me. And I thought that's what she had told the investigator, but I guess, since it was her brother, she wasn't about to do that. But I told her that she needed to tell somebody. She said there's no way she could. So I called him [the investigator], and I set up an appointment with Eddie Cruz, and I told him about the calls that Carlos had made to the house, that he'd been the one that had done it, but that nobody would be able to prove it.
Transcribed Videotape Interview with Gloria Sanchez, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 23, 2005) at 10:57:36, 11:03:35–11:04:04:
So when we met at the attorney's office a couple of days later, they wanted to know if I would give a statement to the police. So I said ok. I went over to the police station and gave a statement, and that was it. That was the end of it. I figured "I've done my deal, I'm ok." And then I heard from Albert Peña and he asked me if I would be a witness. And I said ok. But they never used me because, he said, they were concerned because I had three daughters, I had young kids. Eventually they never used me . . . . When I first went in and talked to Paul Rivera, the first thing he asked me was, "How do you know Eddie Cruz [the defense investigator], did you have an affair with him?" And I said, "No," I said, "I just met him." And I felt that he thought that I was doing it . . . somebody was making me say, you know, give the statement. And he was like, seemed like I was wasting his time. He asked me a few questions, he recorded the statement, and I don't know what ever happened to the tape.
Peso Chavez's Notes on Interview with Gloria Sanchez, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (July 21 and 23, 2004) at 1–2:
[Carlos Hernandez's sister Paula] lived with me (in 1979) for awhile—I was living at 710 12th Street. [At that time,] Paula had received numerous calls from her brother Carlos when Dahlia Sauceda was killed. Carlos told her: "I did it (meaning killed Dahlia [Sauceda]) but they will never be able to prove it—no one is going to treat my sister this way so I got her out of the way."
Paul[a] believed that Carlos killed [Dahlia] and she continued telling me that when Carlos got drunk or was smoking marijuana that he became crazy and that she would become so afraid of him.
Within a short period of time of Carlos' confession, [Albert Peña's investigator] Eddie Cruz contacted Paula at [Sanchez's] 12th St. address. Ms. Sanchez stated, "I was at home when Mr. Cruz contacted Paula. He was asking her questions about Freddy and the relationship he had with Dahlia. I was clear that Mr. Cruz was thinking that Freddy had killed Dahlia. I know he never mentioned Carlos' name and Paula never told him about the confession."
According to Ms. Sanchez, she felt she had to contact Mr. Cruz and provide him with the knowledge she had about Dahlia's death. She stated, "I felt I needed to do the right thing so I meet with Mr. Cruz . . . and Albert [Peña] at their office. I told them of the conversation that Paula had with Carlos and the confession he made to Paula." As per the defense team they suggested she contact [Detective] Paul Rivera and tell him of the information she had.
Several days later she contacted Paul Rivera, Corpus Christi P[olice] D[ep't] and gave him a taped statement (15–20 min.). Ms. Sanchez stated, "Mr. Rivera was very arrogant and the first thing he said, "What are they giving you for this or do you have something going on with Eddie Cruz—meaning something sexually. I told him I had never met the man before this. I felt that he didn't care about what I had to say and that they [thought they] already had the person who killed Dahlia." Ms. Sanchez was subpoenaed by the defense but she was never called to testify.
Peso Chavez & James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Gloria Sanchez, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 16, 2004) at 2:
[Carlos Hernandez] said to Paula [Hernandez] over phone that he had killed Dahlia S[auceda] and they would never find out that he had done it.
Gloria told this to Eddie Cruz (the investigator for Albert Pena [sic] the lawyer) that Paula H had told her that Carlos H had told her he killed Dahlia. Eddie came to interview Paula while Gloria was there; [Gloria] realized that Paula wasn't going to tell him the truth.
After they had arrested Jesse [Garza], Eddie Cruz came to Paula to question her. I didn't listen. When he left, I took his card and called him. Paula never knew. She told Cruz she heard Paula say [Carlos Hernandez] confessed the crime. Cruz then set up an appointment for her to go talk to Al[bert] Pena [sic]. He [Peña] then set up to have her talk to [Detective] Paul Rivera. Rivera acted like Pena [sic] and Eddie put her up to it and that she had something going with Eddie Cruz.
See also Transcribed Videotape Interview with Freddy Schilling, Brother-in-Law of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi (Feb. 24, 2005) at 14:14:51–14:15:20 ("My wife [Paula] told me . . . she started crying one day and she says, 'I'm going to tell you the truth. I really shouldn't be telling you, but Carlos confessed to me. He told me that he killed Dahlia. He says it's because he didn't want to see me suffer any more.'").
See supra note 137.
Peso Chavez & James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Gloria Sanchez, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 16, 2004) at 2 ("At the Garza trial, Gloria was in the witness room; called to come testify by Albert Pena; sat there but then he said they weren't going to call her.");
See supra Chapter 6, note 195 and accompanying text.