HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 8
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Chapter 8

Confession

Pricilla Hernandez grew up at her grandmother Fidela's house on Carrizo Street. For Pricilla, the street was a sinister backwater cut off from the rest of the world.

Carrizo Street is only two blocks long, in the heart of the Corpus Christi barrio. It starts at Blucher Street on the north, passes Kinney Street and dead-ends at a weedy embankment just before Laredo Street on the south.1 Because the street jogs at Kinney, the dead-end block where Pricilla lived is cut off even from the other block with the same street name.2

Fidela's house was at the very end of the cul-de-sac, furthest from the outlet on Kinney, on the west side of the street. Like the other structures on the block, it was a ramshackle wood-frame affair. But it sat apart from the others up a little hill from the street.3

The Tapias' and other dwellings across the street backed onto an empty lot abutting Blucher Park, across Kinney Street.4 The neighbors called the lot "the park," but it was just an open space, strewn with litter and shaded by a few trees. People hung out there, drank, and used drugs.5 There wasn't much else to do on Carrizo Street.

* * * * *

Pricilla was Paula Hernandez's first child, conceived out of wedlock. Soon after leaving the hospital from the car wreck in which her brother Carlos killed her fiancé, seventeen-year-old Paula had slept with Beto Vela.6 Beto was a force at the Casino Club, known for his one night stands with many of the young women there. He was in his first of several marriages at the time.7

Paula was ashamed of her illegitimate daughter. When she married Freddy Schilling, she wanted a fresh start, so she left Pricilla behind on Carrizo Street with Fidela and her three uncles: Carlos, Javier, and Frankie.8 Pricilla lived there until she was thirteen, when she walked out.9

* * * * *

Life was hard for the young girls on Carrizo Street. When Margie Tapia was only fifteen, her mother arranged for her to move in with Pricilla's uncle Carlos, even though he was a lot older and not the father of her child.10 As Margie and Carlos turned the tiny Hernandez living room into a bedroom, Pricilla couldn't help but notice that Carlos's new "wife" wasn't much older than Pricilla herself or her playmate Beatrice Tapia, Margie's sister.11 A pregnant twelve-year-old down the street was forced by her mother to have sex with men to raise money for an abortion. The problem went away, however, when the girl miscarried while playing basketball.12

Years later, Pricilla told the out-of-town investigators she couldn't wait to leave Carrizo Street, and especially to put behind her the things that happened at Fidela's house.13 Asked why, she answered through tears: "A lot of violence. A lot of hurt."14 Carlos and her other uncle Javier would fight, knives would come out, and soon someone was bleeding. There was "always blood" at Fidela's house.15 One time, Pricilla saw Carlos stab Javier in the shoulder. Lucky for Javier, he was wearing a coat, or it would have been worse.16

One of the most vicious fights Pricilla remembers was between Carlos and her stepfather Freddy Schilling. Carlos was arguing with Freddy about a woman named Dahlia. The fight ended in a stabbing, and an ambulance came.17 Freddy wasn't a violent man, Pricilla said. Unlike Carlos, Freddy didn't carry knives.18

* * * * *

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Janie Adrian, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 5, 2004) at 07:27:25–07:27:35 ("It's right here, and this is a dead end. Carrizo going into Laredo." (pointing to section of Carrizo Street on which both she and the Hernandez's lived));

see South Carrizo St, Corpus Christi, Tex. 78401 Map, Google Maps, http://goo.gl/JLIvk (last visited May 12, 2012) (showing two-block length of Carrizo St. between Blucher and Laredo).

See supra Chapter 6, notes 33–38 and accompanying text.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Beatrice Tapia, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 9, 2004) at 08:09:45–08:12:42, 08:15:08–08:15:32 ("[W]e grew up here on Carrizo Street in Corpus Christi. . . . My sisters, the oldest one is Mary Jane Garcia, Mary Margaret Tapia, and me, Beatrice Tapia, and the little one is Cynthia Maria Garcia, and my little brother is Rafael. . . . Everybody played with everybody's kids. You know, I played around a lot with Pricilla, me and my little sister, and we knew Carlos Hernandez and we knew Javier [Hernandez]. . . . As I can remember, I was older than Pricilla. We played around a lot.");

see also supra Chapter 6, notes 22–60 and accompanying text.

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi's Notes on Interview with Beatriz Castro, Neighbor of Fidela Hernandez (Oct. 23, 2004) at 8 ("When Bertha [Martinez] became pregnant at 12 years old and wanted an abortion, Mary/Maria [Martinez, her mother] told her to earn money for the abortion by sleeping with men. . . . Later Bertha had a miscarriage. She lost the pregnancy playing basketball.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Pricilla Hernandez Jaramillo, Niece of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 06:07:46–06:08:05 ("Q. [W]hat [is] your emotion when you think about that house on Carrizo street. A. I don't like it. I don't like remembering it. Q. How come? A. Bad memories. Q. What kind of bad memories? A. A lot of violence. A lot of hurt.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Pricilla Hernandez Jaramillo, Niece of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 06:07:46–06:08:05 ("Q. [W]hat [is] your emotion when you think about that house on Carrizo Street. A. I don't like it. I don't like remembering it. Q. How come? A. Bad memories. Q. What kind of bad memories? A. A lot of violence. A lot of hurt.");

see infra note 17 and accompanying text.

James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Pricilla Hernandez Jaramillo, Niece of Carlos Hernandez (Dec. 3, 2004) at 1 ("When I grew up at Fidela's, there was a lot of bleeding. Brothers always fought—a[l]ways blood.");

see Transcribed Videotape Interview with Janie Adrian, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 5, 2004) at 07:32:35–07:32:51 ("Q. And what kinds of things would he [Carlos Hernandez] do when he drank? A. Get mad with Fidela or his brothers. Beat up on his brothers, on his nieces, on his mom.");

James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Janie Adrian, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez (Dec. 4, 2004) at 3 ("All of them at Hernandez family fought with each other. Not a weekend went by and something didn't happen. . . . Me and Fidela used to go out [dancing and drinking]. . . . She (Fidela) [told Janie she] was afraid of CH [Carlos Hernandez]. He hit her when he was drunk. He would break stuff in her (Fildela's) house.");

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi's Notes on Interview #2 with Fidela Hernandez, Mother of Carlos Hernandez (Sept. 15, 2004) at 3 ("Javier was very jealous. Javier and Carlos fought because Javier complained that Carlos wanted his women. . . . Since Carlos and Javier fought so much, Fidela put Carlos out of the house.");

see also Bruce Whitman's Notes on Interview with Johnny Arsuaga, Cousin of Carlos Hernandez (Nov. 3, 2004) at 1:

Johnny's mother is sister to Fidela Hernandez making Johnny Carlos Hernandez's cousin. Johnny is 44 years old and remembers Fidela and her family. Josephine visited Fidela when Fidela was living on Carrizo St. Johnny's father refused to visit Fidela saying Fidela and her kids were crazy and bad. Johnny remembers Carlos Hernandez as follows: he was crazy, you could see it in his eyes; didn't trust him; he had no respect for anyone; couldn't fight with his fist; always carried a knife in a pouch on his belt; first went to prison when he was 17 years old.

Bruce Whitman's Notes on Interview with Lila Zapata, Neighbor of the Hernandez Family (Nov. 20, 2004) at 1:

Lila Zapata was about 12 years old when her family moved to Carrizo St. and she met Carlos Hernandez for the first time. Carlos was much older than Lila. Lila had a crush on Carlos, she thought he was handsome but never shared this with him and rarely spoke to him. . . What Lila . . . remember[s] about Carlos Hernandez and his family is that anytime Carlos was home there were people drinking, partying, and the music was loud almost every day or at least every other day. The CC [Corpus Christi] Police were a common sight at the Hernandez's. Carlos moved in and out of the house.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Pricilla Hernandez Jaramillo, Niece of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 06:08:23–06:09:20 ("They would fight. There'd be blood. . . . Either fist-fighting or they'd use their knives. . . . [Carlos would] pick at [Javier]. Like, he'd cause an argument and my uncle Javier would get upset and they'd start arguing and fighting. . . . [Carlos] stabbed [Javier] in the shoulder. And, a good thing he had his coat on. He would have gotten hurt.").

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi's Notes on Interview with Pricilla Hernandez Jaramillo, Niece of Carlos Hernandez (Oct. 29, 2004) at 3 (describing Pricilla's recollection of the fight about Dahlia: "CH [Carlos Hernandez] and Priscilla's step Dad (Freddy Schilling) got into a huge argument and fight. They were fighting on the street and Priscilla believes they used knives. The neighbors called the police and an ambulance came. . . . The paramedics treated them on the spot in the middle of the street.");

James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Pricilla Hernandez Jaramillo, Niece of Carlos Hernandez (Dec. 3, 2004) at 1 ("CH [Carlos Hernandez] was arguing with Freddy Schilling about a woman, 'Dahlia.' They started physically fighting. Ambulance came because a stabbing occurred during the fight. Both uncles (CH and Javier) and Freddy. Started fighting—first [time] she remembers they fought, both uncles & my stepfather. . . . In the ambulance incident, she thinks someone must have been stabbed . . . . My step dad [Schilling] wasn't the violent type and didn't use knives. Drugs not violence.").

See supra note 17 and accompanying text.

See South Carrizo St, Corpus Christi, Tex. 78401 Map, Google Maps, http://goo.gl/OB6aI (last visited May 12, 2012) (showing zoom of the portion of Carrizo Street between Kinney and Laredo).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Pricilla Hernandez Jaramillo, Niece of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 06:13:01–06:14:14 ("Q. And how would you get from the yard to the porch [of Fidela's house] . . .? A. You'd have to go up-stairs. And it's like a hill. The house is already on a hill. Q. You'd walk up a little hill, and then you'd walk up stairs. A. And then there's the house.");

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Beatrice Tapia, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 9, 2004) at 08:11:04–08:12:42, 08:13:40–08:14:17, 08:20:51–08:23:13:

We lived on Carrizo. . . . We had a Fidela Hernandez who lived right down the street from us, and her sons Carlos Hernandez, Javier Hernandez, and her granddaughter, Pricilla Hernandez. . . . There was a big empty lot [behind our house], it was like a hill going down, there was a big old lot, and there was a drainage tunnel that would go on the other side of Kinney Street. . . . [The Hernandezes'] house was sitting like on top of a hill, and I as I remember there were two concrete slabs, like a wall, and the steps, there were concrete steps going up. And then, at the end of the last step up, there was like a little sidewalk, and then there was steps, wooden steps, on the door, I mean, on the porch, and the porch was there, and there was a door facing the street, of Carrizo, and then there was a door facing the street of Agnes [sic—Laredo].

See South Carrizo St, Corpus Christi, Tex. 78401 Map, Google Maps, http://goo.gl/fzkJf (last visited May 12, 2012) (showing zoom of lot behind houses on Carrizo St.).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Janie Adrian, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 5, 2004) at 07:42:27 ("[The park behind my apartment] didn't have no swings or anything, so it was just probably just for people to hang out there, to talk, to drink. A lot of people that was doing drugs would go back there. That's why we didn't let the kids go back there.");

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Beatrice Tapia, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 9, 2004) at 08:13:40–08:14:17 ("There was a big empty lot, it was like a hill going down, and there was a big old lot, and there was a drainage tunnel that would go on the other side of Kinney Street. And we used to get together and play baseball and kickball. Or we used to go and sit there and throw rocks at the tunnel. And sometimes we would get the habit of going in the tunnel, to play around to see what was on the other side: Kinney Street.").

The car accident occurred on December 30, 1970. See supra Chapter 6, notes 144–147 and accompanying text. Pricilla was born on November 15, 1971. Cf Summary of Pricilla Hernandez Criminal Records, Case 00–1635-C (Jan. 12, 2000) ("DOB: 11/15/1971");

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Pricilla Hernandez Jaramillo, Niece of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 06:06:04–06:06:05 ("33" in response to age, putting her birth year at approximately 1971).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Yolanda Ortiz, Owner of Casino Club, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 5, 2004) at 09:22:07–09:25:22:

Beto Vela was a guy who went there [at the Casino Club] every night. And he was the type that didn't drink, would just buy his Cokes and have all these women after him. He would date so many women there, so he would go out with so many. Most of them all had kids from him. . . . [P]eople [who hung] around [Beto Vela] were either Pete Olivarez or Henry Vela or, like, Jesse Garza, and DeLuna, Carlos DeLuna, or Manuel DeLuna would be there, you know, so. And the girls would be most of the—they would all be there, like, Teresa [Perez], and Yolanda Lucio, and Linda Perales. . . . They all knew each other. All that little circle [around Beto Vela] knew everybody. Actually, everybody knew everybody at the club. Most of them either lived close by each other, but they all knew each other. . . . Terry [Perez, who was married for Beto for awhile] had mentioned something about, that Paula [Hernandez] having [a baby from Beto Vela]. . . . See cause, these girls they would usually fight over him [Beto]. They would always be fighting over him.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Freddy Schilling, Brother-in-Law of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 13:51:58–13:52:25 ("Q. And you also have, there's a young woman by the name of Pricilla A. That's my step-daughter, but I've raised her since she was a baby. Q. And who is her mother? A. Her mother is Paulina. Q. And who is her father? A. Beto Vela.");

Susan Montez's Notes on Interview with Linda Perales Ayala, Step-Mother of Pricilla Hernandez Jaramillo and Ex-Wife of Manuel DeLuna (July 24, 2004) at 2 (stating that "her [ex-]husband . . . Herbert 'Beto' Vela . . . had been married [sic] to Paula [Hernandez] . . . .'");

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi's Notes on Interview with Linda Perales Ayala, Step-Mother of Pricilla Hernandez Jaramillo and Ex-Wife of Manuel DeLuna (Sept. 14, 2004) at 5 ("Linda was 18 years old and Beto 27 years old when they met. He was a very jealous man. He would not let her speak even to her brothers. She couldn't leave the house. . . . Beto has many children from other women and marriages. He and his first wife . . . had a son . . . . He and his second wife had [three children]. He also had babies with other women, but Linda does not know their names.");

Susan Montez's Notes on Interview with Mary Ann Perales Benavides (Jul. 16, 2004) at 3–4 ("Mary Ann thought that Priscilla's father was Beto Vela, Linda's first husband.");

James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Manuel DeLuna, Brother of Carlos DeLuna (Aug. 17, 2004) at 3 ("Beto Vela is Paula Hernandez's first husband. Their daughter is Pricilla Hernandez. . . . He was married [sic] to Paula Hernandez in the 70s. Married Linda [Perales] in 1979 or 1980.");

Bruce Whitman's Notes on Interview with Yolanda Ortiz, Owner of Casino Club (Sept. 21, 2004) at 2 ("Beto Vela was a dancer and [ladies'] man. . . . Paula Hernandez was one of Beto's girlfriends who was frequently at the Club with Beto . . ..");

Kate Weisburd's Notes on Interview with Teresita Perez Vela, Wife of Beto Vela (May 13, 2005) at 1 ("She said of course she remembered Linda Perales b/c she was [previously] married to [Linda's] husband [Beto Vela] . . .. She [Teresita] . . . was married to Vela [in] '76 or '77–'79 and when they were married he didn't let her out of the house. She had met him at the club and he kept going once they were married but didn't let her go.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Pricilla Hernandez Jaramillo, Niece of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 06:06:30–06:07:20:

Q. Who is your father?

A. Herbert Beto Vela.

Q. What is Herbert Beto Vela's relationship to Linda [Perales]?

A. Her husband.

Q. And who is your mother?

A. Paulina Schilling.

Q. OK. And what was her maiden name?

A. Paulina Hernandez.

Q. And Paulina Hernandez, when she had you as a child, was she married to Mr. Vela?

A. No, she wasn't. . . .

Q. And when you were a young child, did you live with your mother Paulina?

A. No, I didn't.

Q. Where did you live?

A. With my grandmother.

Q. What street were you living on?

A. Carrizo.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Pricilla Hernandez Jaramillo, Niece of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 06:12:15–06:13:01:

Q. [H]ow old were you when you were living with Fidela Hernandez?

A. I went with her, I think at the age of five. No, I was smaller than that. I was an infant when she took me in. I'm not sure.

Q. And did you stay with her throughout your childhood?

A. Yes, until I was fourteen.

Q. Did you stay with Fidela until you were grown up?

A. Not until I was grown up. Just until I was of age to leave.

Q. And how old was that?

A. Fourteen.

Q. And where did you go?

A. I went back with my mother.

Q. And that was your mother . . .?

A. Paulina Schilling.

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi's Notes on Interview with Pricilla Hernandez Jaramillo, Niece of Carlos Hernandez (Oct. 29, 2004) at 2 ("Beto got Paula pregnant and then left her.");

Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi's Notes on Interview with Fidela Hernandez, Mother of Carlos Hernandez (Sept. 14, 2004) ("Pauline was 18 y.o. when she became pregnant with Priscilla. Pauline left and went to Houston and Fidela raised Priscilla.").

See infra note 26 and accompanying text.

Chapter 8
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