Manuel told her that his brother was innocent and that Carlos Hernandez was the killer. Manuel had heard that from another guy in prison, who'd heard it from Hernandez himself.85
What really made Linda pay attention, though, was that her step-daughter, Pricilla, after learning that Linda had married Manuel DeLuna, told Linda the same thing. She'd overheard her uncle Carlos Hernandez saying it was he who killed Wanda Lopez, not Carlos DeLuna.86
* * * * *
Others heard Carlos Hernandez say things, as well. Lina Zapata first met Carlos in the 1980's, when her family moved to Carrizo Street. Lina's father told her to stay away from him, because he'd been in prison and was violent.87
Lina got to know Carlos better in the early 90's, when she moved into an apartment complex on Hancock Street, where Carlos lived with his girlfriend, Cindy Maxwell.
One time she and Carlos were drinking together, and out of the blue he said he'd killed before, as if that was a normal thing to say in the middle of a conversation.88
"No shit, you killed someone?," Lina asked. "Yeah," Carlos said. He didn't elaborate.89 Asked later if she ever heard Carlos talk about Dahlia Sauceda, Lina said the name wasn't familiar. She did remember him talking about a woman named Wanda.90
Carlos Hernandez met Cindy Maxwell in 1979, and he lived with her on and off into the 1990's. An African-American woman with a mental disability whose parents acted as her legal guardian throughout her adult life, Cindy was working as a custodian at a public library when she met Hernandez.91
Although Carlos had relationships with many other women in those years, he always went back to Cindy. She took care of him. She paid for everything. She bought him beer—a twelve-pack a day—and whatever else he wanted.92 She loved Carlos, in spite of his drinking problem and the violent incidents she sometimes reported to the police. On one occasion, he threatened to "cut her" and on another, he "accidentally" cut her son.93
According to Cindy's niece, Cindy knew more than just that Carlos drank and had a temper. Cindy told her that Carlos had killed a woman during a robbery. Cindy didn't offer details.94 Around the same time, Hernandez told Cindy and a friend, Michelle Garza, "that he had killed a lady in a van." Garza later told the investigators she "thought [Hernandez] was just making it up, until Cindy told me he had stabbed some other lady," too.95
When the investigators came around, Cindy had nothing bad to say about Carlos.96 She'd heard from a friend that he killed a lady in a robbery, and she heard Carlos say a lot of things himself over the years. But when Carlos talked like that, Cindy said, she wouldn't listen.97
* * * * *
At some point between 1987 and 1989, when Manuel DeLuna was in state prison, he ran into a young kid from Corpus he remembered as Ortiz—"Carlos" Ortiz, he thought but he wasn't sure.
"I was walking down the hallway at the Old Clemens Unit," Manuel told the investigators, "and ran into him in the classification [office, when] he was just coming in from the chain [the bus for new inmates]." Ortiz "asked me if my name was Manuel DeLuna from Corpus Christi and if Carlos was my brother."98
Ortiz said he had something to tell Manuel, and they agreed to meet in the rec yard. When they did, Ortiz started talking about Carlos Hernandez and Carlos DeLuna.99
See infra note 98 and accompanying text.
Peso Chavez's Notes on Interview with Linda Perales Ayala, Step-Mother of Pricilla Hernandez Jaramillo and Ex-Wife of Manuel DeLuna, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 22–26, 2004) at 4:
Approximately 5 year's [sic] ago Ms. Ayala [Linda] was married to Manuel DeLuna for a brief period. Manuel told her that his brother was innocent and that Carlos Hernandez was the perpetrator. Carlos Hernandez is related to Pricilla Hernandez (her uncle) Ms. Ayala's ex-husbands [sic] daughter. Pricilla told Ms. Ayala that her uncle Carlos was a drug addict and that he may have been with Carlos DeLuna the night the lady was killed and he may have been the one that killed her.
James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview by Bruce Whitman with Linda Perales Ayala, Step-Mother of Pricilla Hernandez Jaramillo and Ex-Wife of Manuel DeLuna (Aug. 11, 2004) ("She [Linda] confirmed that C[arlos]. Hernandez had told Priscilla [sic] about a killing . . . [he committed that] was part of a robbery.");
Sita Sovin & Lauren Eskenazi's Notes on Interview with Linda Perales Ayala, Step-Mother of Pricilla Hernandez Jaramillo and Ex-Wife of Manuel DeLuna, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Sep. 14, 2004) at 2 ("When Linda was married to Manuel, he told her that Carlos DeLuna was innocent. . . . Priscilla [sic] told Linda that Carlos Hernandez committed murders long after they happened. At first, she thought Priscilla [sic] told her two years ago then she thought it may have been when she was married to Manuel.").
Bruce Whitman's Notes on Interview with Lina Zapata, Friend of Carlos Hernandez (Nov. 20, 2004) at 1–2:
Lina was 10 years old when her family moved to Carrizo St. Lina's mother, Lilia became friends with Fidela Hernandez and her family which included Carlos, Javier, Efrain and Carlos's wife [at the time] Rosa. Carlos had recently been released from prison and told people in the neighborhood he was in prison for murder. Juan Zapata, Lina's father cautioned his children to stay away from Carlos because of his prison record and it was known Carlos carried a knife. Juan became friends with Carlos. They drank, took drugs and visited. Lina described Carlos Hernandez with a Spanish term, "Pachuco" which Lina translates into English as, "gangster type from the old school, carried knifes, had to show everyone they were macho."
Bruce Whitman's Notes on Interview with Lina Zapata, Friend of Carlos Hernandez (Nov. 20, 2004) at 2–3:
Carlos Hernandez and his family left Carrizo and moved to Hancock St. Lina and her friend also moved to Hancock St. in the early 90's. Lina soon discovered she was living in the same apartment complex as Carlos and Cindy. Lina became reacquainted with Carlos and Cindy. Lina, who was drinking at the time, and Carlos, who always drank, started drinking together and visiting. Carlos drank liquor and Lina drank beer. Lina remembers a time while Carlos and she were in the living room drinking and Cindy was in the kitchen working Carlos made the statement that he had killed before. Lina said, "no shit you killed someone?" Carlos said, "yeah." That was all that was said but Lina felt Carlos was telling the truth. Even though Carlos treated Lina and her sister with respect she knew he was a violent man. . . . I [investigator Bruce Whitman] ran through names of people other than family . . . and the only name she remembered was the name Wanda being used by Carlos but she wasn't sure in what context.
Bruce Whitman's Notes on Interview with Mary Jackson, Mother of Cindy Maxwell (Aug. 9, 2004) at 1 [("Cm [Cindy Maxwell] met ch [Carlos Hernandez] while working at the cc [Corpus Christi] public libruary [sic] in the early 80's. mr Jackson suspected cindy had a boyfriend and kidded her about it. Cindy denied it and mr. Jackson kidd[ing]ly said someday he would catch her with her b/f [boyfriend] which he eventually did one day when he stopped by cm's apartment and ch was there.");
Susan Montez's Notes on Interview with Cindy Maxwell, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (July 22 and 26, 2004) at 2–3 ("Cindy met Carlos Hernandez in 1979. She was working at a library. Carlos came into the library. He had recently gotten out of jail. They hit it off right away and began living together soon after they met.");
DeLuna—New Document Analysis—Players Data Base 6–05, at Row 176 (entry for Mary Lou Jackson) (Aug. 9, 2005) ("Mother of CH's [Carlos Hernandez's] long-time live in girlfriend, Cindy Maxwell. Cindy is [mentally] retarded and Ms. Jackson has guardianship. . . . [D]idn't want Cindy to be videotaped. Cldn't stand CH who drank and took adv[antage] of CM [Cindy Maxwell].").
See Transcribed Videotape Interview with Dina Ybañez, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez (Dec. 7, 2004) 03:23:35–3:26:02, 03:26:31, 03:26:57–3:27:33:
Q. How would he [Carlos Hernandez] take advantage of her [Cindy Maxwell].
A. Take her money away, and make her bring girls to the house so he can be with them. If not, he'd threaten to leave her, and things like that. . . . Cindy was stupid. So I used to be her friend because I used to give her advice because Carlos was always taking advantage of her, taking her checks, and making her bring girls to the house, giving her threats. She'd take anything, as long as he didn't leave her. . . .
Q. Did Cindy Maxell talk to you about those events?
A. I would see everything. And I would get mad at her.
Q. OK. What did you see Carlos Hernandez do?
A. Hitting her, taking her check. He was real mean to her. . . .
Q. What kind of advice did you give her?
A. To leave him! That's why I took her to my house.
Bruce Whitman's Notes on Interview with Mary Jackson, Mother of Cindy Maxwell (Aug. 9, 2004) at 1–2:
The Jackson's soon discovered ch [Carlos Hernandez] was an alcoholic and not responsible. "[A]ll he did was drink from morning to night. He never worked and Cindy bought him his beer." The Jackson's had words with ch on many occasions. They told him to get out and work to pay his share of the expenses. As far as the Jackson knew ch worked for 1 mo while he was with Cindy. The Jackson's became increasingly worried about Cindy and her relationship with ch and encouraged her to leave ch. Cindy told them, "someone has to take care of him (ch)"
Ch hung around the house in the daytime and drank either at home or a tavern that was in walking distance. Ms Jackson stopped by to see Cindy one morning and was shocked at the condition of Cindy's apt "it was a mess, smelled like stale beer and full of smoke, ch was there with his brother Javier. I kicked them both out and told them to never come back". Ms. Jackson and her son John (Tiger) [a large man who had played pro football for a time] told ch if he ever harmed Cindy they would kill him. As far as the Jacksons know that is the only reason Cindy was never harmed by ch as they knew he fought with his brother Javier and were told of the stabbing ch had done to a woman (Dina [Ybañez]).
See infra Chapter 17, Figure 41 (photograph of Carlos Hernandez and Cindy Maxwell).
Susan Montez's Notes on Interview with Cindy Maxwell, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (July 22 and 26, 2004) at 2–3:
Cindy met Carlos Hernandez in 1979. She was working at a library. Carlos came into the library. He had recently gotten out of jail. They hit it off right away and began living together soon after they met. They only split up once during the time they were together. That was when Carlos got romantically involved with another girl. . . . Cindy loved Carlos very much, even though he had a terrible drinking problem and a mean temper when he drank. [The interviewer] asked if he had ever physically hurt her, and she replied yes, once. It was during that time they were living at Dina's. Cindy just could not take that and that was also why she left. . . . His drinking was the real problem. [The interviewer] asked her if she had tried to help him. She laughed and said, "I bought him beer."
Bruce Whitman Notes on Interview with Cindy Maxwell, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 8, 2004) at 1 ("Ch [Carlos Hernandez] was a drinker. He drank on a daily basis at least a 12 pack [of beer].");
See O.N. Fulton, Corpus Christi Police Officer, Corpus Christi Police Department Offense Report (Jan. 11, 1996) at 2 ("[Cindy] Maxwell said he [Carlos Hernandez] had threatened to cut her in the past. Winfield [a neighbor] said yesterday 1–10–96 Hernandez "accidentally" cut her [Maxwell's] adult son.");
James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Dina Ybañez, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez (July 13, 2004) at 4 ("Ms. Ybanez described Cindy as mentally slow but who dearly loved Mr. Hernandez. She stated, 'Carlos would always threaten her and when she worked she handed him the paycheck. Plus, Cindy would bring girls home so that he could have sex in front of her.'");
Bruce Whitman's Notes on Interview with Lina Zapata, Neighbor of the Hernandez Family (Nov. 20, 2004) at 1–2:
Carlos [Hernandez] had a 'black' girlfriend who lived with him. Her name was Cindy. Carlos and Cindy were always outside there [sic] house yelling at each other and fighting. One time Cindy was trying to leave Carlos and Carlos either shoved or pushed Cindy and she fell back. He may have hit her . . . The last times Lila saw Carlos was when she was at a carnival in town and Carlos was working at one of the rides and another time she was visiting her sister Lina at her Hancock address and stopped to see Carlos [where he lived nearby with Cindy]. Carlos had been sick from drinking and was passed out drunk and unconscious on the bathroom floor.
Bruce Whitman's Notes on Interview with Mary Jackson, Mother of Cindy Maxwell (Aug. 9, 2004) at 2 ("About this time granddaughter Latanya walked through the front door carrying lunch for the Jacksons. Ms. Jackson asked Latanya 'has Cindy ever said anything to you about [Hernandez] killing anyone?' Lantanya [sic] said she thought Cindy mentioned something about [Hernandez] robbing and killing someone before they started living together. Ms. Jackson questioned her more but that was all she could remember.").
Peso Chavez's Notes on Interview with Michelle Garza, Friend of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 28, 2004) at 1 ("During this period Carlos was in and out of prison [sic—probably jail]. She stated, 'I don't recall why he was in prison but I do recall one day he told me and Cindy that he had killed a lady in a van. I had always thought he was just making it up until Cindy told me he had stabbed some other lady.'").
Susan Montez's Notes on Interview with Cindy Maxwell, Girlfriend of Carlos Hernandez (July 22 and 26, 2004) at 2–5:
Cindy loved Carlos very much, even though he had a terrible drinking problem and a mean temper when he drank. . . . Cindy's whole family loved Carlos. Carlos told Cindy, "Your mother is my mother." When he was dying, Cindy only got to see him once because it was so far away and hard to get to [Barry Telford Unit of New Boston, Texas—Bowie County]. Before that, she visited him every weekend when he was at the Nueces County Jail. . . . Carlos was a very good cook. People liked to eat his cooking. He would not cook when he was drunk, but he would barbecue. They had lots of barbecues. . . . Carlos went out to buy a CD, and somehow got in a fight with someone. He did not want to meet with his parole officer. That woman really had it in for Carlos. She wanted him to be locked up. . . . Carlos never told Cindy about hurting anyone, whether he was drunk or sober. He drank too much and he got mean when he drank, but he was still a good person. He would not hurt someone. Cindy said she knew him better than anyone. . . .
See also Peso Chavez's Notes on Interview with Dina Ybañez, Neighbor of Carlos Hernandez, (June 14–15, 2004) at 2:
Carlos Hernandez would be in the living room [of the house he shared with Cindy Maxwell] and he would make fun about how he killed the girl at the gas station and the one in the van. He would brag about how [Jesse] Graza and Carlos DeLuna—he would call Carlos his tocallo— were blamed for it and he was the one that had killed them. Hurting people was real funny to him and he always had a habit of saying "I put the knife on her life"—meaning he had stabbed her. And he would always brag about the "X" he carved into Dahlia's back. He bragged about how he raped and killed her and how the baby was in the van and he thought about killing the baby as well. Cindy [Maxwell], his girlfriend knew about this but she would never say anything about it—she loved him too much.
See supra note 96.
Bruce Whitman's Notes on Interview with Manuel DeLuna, Brother of Carlos DeLuna (Aug. 11, 2004) at 1–2:
Mdl [Manuel DeLuna] was doing time in prison at the "Old Clemens Unit" doc, tx [Department of Corrections, Texas]: "Between 1987 to 1989 or 90 I ran into a young kid from cc, tx [Corpus Christi, Texas] his name was Carlos [sic, Miguel] Ortiz. I was walking down the hallway at the Old Clemens Unit and ran into him in the classification he was just coming in from the chain and he asked me if my name was mdl? I said yes and he asked to meet me at the rec. yard. I met Carlos [sic] Ortiz in the rec. yard and he started talking to me about Carlos Hernandez. He said he met ch [Carlos Hernandez] at a park in cc [Corpus Christi] next to Rojo and Painter street. (note this park is surrounded by low income housing and approximately 2 miles from ch's Hancock address ). Ortiz said that night at the park he and some other guys were drinking beer and ch started bragging about all his killings and he mentioned the killing that Carlos De Luna was doing time in the pen for a capital murder and th[at] he [DeLuna] took his (ch's) rap. . . . We ended up becoming friends I really don't know what happen[ed] to the guy. We talked more at other times about my brothers['] case and [Ortiz] said that when ch was bragging in the park that he actually did kill this Wanda Lopez and that my brother took the rap for this. Carlos Ortiz did go on to say that ch bragged about several killings under his belt, not one but several."
James S. Liebman's Notes on Bruce Whitman's Interview with Manuel DeLuna, Brother of Carlos DeLuna (Aug. 11, 2004) at 1 ("He was incarcerated in old Clemens unit near Houston between '87 and '91. He was [in] rec [yard] and Carlos [sic] Ortiz comes up: 'You're from Corpus Christi? CDL's [Carlos DeLuna's] brother?' [Ortiz] also from Corpus Christi. He was at park in Corpus Christi (park near what used to be military housing), and C. Hernandez told him about killing 3 women. Others heard it. C. Hernandez referred to killing in van, at gas station, other (woman under bridge). [Ortiz] was very direct about how C. Hernandez bragged about how Manuel's brother, CDL, took the fall.");
James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Manuel DeLuna, Brother of Carlos DeLuna (Aug. 17, 2004) at 1:
Tells me about (Carlos?) Ortiz relating incident in Armada Park in CC. Guy came up . . . . He (Ortiz, Carlos?) was coming through the classification line. I knew everyone I was in the educational unit. I asked his name. Had a high school diploma. 120-something IQ — high compared to others. I saw his file. He joined the plumbing trade to be with me. Short time in with me. . . . Once in a while after he went to trustee camp, he came back to plumbing classes, then he disappeared. . . . I think it was Carlos Ortiz but don't remember first name. Taller than me, 5'9" or 6'. Big old head . . . Convicted out of Corpus. His TDCJ number should be higher than mine—higher than 492323, maybe beginning with 5 or 6. 160 to 170 pounds. 22/23 years old; born '64–67. At the time, Carlos DeLuna had already been convicted; he was already in the system. (Carlos) Ortiz came up and said CH [Carlos Hernandez] did it; bragged; other guys there; bragging; I killed this chick, this chick, this chick. Ortiz thinks he's a woman killer. CH [Carlos Hernandez] says, "That CDL [Carlos DeLuna] took my rap; he hasn't said anything; he took my rap. Everyone knows that your brother was not guilty."
See supra note 98.