HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 9
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All Chapter 9 Footnotes

But Hernandez may have had more than luck working for him.

Eddie Garza had known as early as 1983 that Hernandez was working as a confidential informant for the police.47 Jon Kelly, who used Hernandez to get information from the community for his own criminal cases, had heard the same.48

"If I needed information in the community," Kelly said, Hernandez "could get it. People didn't lie to him. . . . People told him things because they were scared." In two or three cases, Kelly recalled, Carlos brought him information he wouldn't have gotten otherwise.49

It stood to reason that Hernandez was informing for the police. For someone with the criminal record he'd amassed to remain on parole required serious special treatment.

* * * * *

If Hernandez knew how to play the informant game, so did Eddie Garza. Based on what his informants told him about Hernandez in late February and March 1983, he believed "the person that had actually committed the crime" at the Sigmor "was Carlos Hernandez."50

It wasn't just the informants that tipped Garza off. Given Hernandez's temper, his skill with a buck knife, and his tendency to pick on women, the Wanda Lopez killing was exactly the ex-gas station robber's kind of crime.51

Garza knew both Carloses,52 and, as he told news reporters years later, he didn't think DeLuna "had it in him to do something like this and stab somebody to death.'"53 This was Hernandez's kind of crime. "'Hernandez was a ruthless criminal. He had a bad heart. I believe he was a killer.'" 54

This wouldn't be the first time the Corpus police suspected Hernandez of killing a Latina woman. There was Dahlia Sauceda back in 1979. And Garza's partner Paul Rivera had talked to his informants and Hernandez's lawyer, Kelly, about other unsolved murders he suspected Hernandez of committing, including that of a woman named Hortencia Mata, whose nude and beaten body was found under the south end of the Harbor Bridge on April 21, 1982.55

In March 1983, Garza took the information he was getting from his sources to Olivia Escobedo.56 A sex crimes specialist, Escobedo was just learning the ropes as a homicide detective and thought of Garza as her mentor.57 He told her that Carlos Hernandez was "out on the streets boasting that he had gotten someone else to take the fall for him" in the Lopez killing and urged her to take a hard look at the man.58

There could be no confusion as to the Carlos Hernandez that Garza meant, he said later.59 This particular Carlos Hernandez was notorious, not only among police but also prosecutors and people at the courthouse.60 From their own personal experience investigating cases and making arrests, Garza explained, most of the detectives in the criminal investigation division knew of Carlos Gonzalez Hernandez, born on Bastille Day 1954. 61

Detective Escobedo knew who Carlos Hernandez was, too. One of her first homicide cases was the rape-murder of Dahlia Sauceda.62 Because they'd found Hernandez's fingerprint on a beer can and his boxer shorts near Sauceda's body, he was a suspect in that case.63 After she and prosecutor Botary decided to try Jesse Garza instead,64 she watched defense lawyer Albert Peña take her case against Garza apart and get an acquittal because the jurors thought it was Hernandez who murdered Sauceda.65 Peña even called her to the witness stand to rake her over the coals for not properly investigating Hernandez.66

Eddie Garza was also certain that the police could find Hernandez if they wanted to bring him in. The patrol division knew his hangouts and the people around him.67 If someone had told Garza to go find Carlos Hernandez in connection with a crime like this, the old detective said, he would've gone straight over to Carrizo and Laredo Streets just east of Staples and Mary and had him in custody in minutes.68 It was only ten blocks from the police station.69

Bruce Whitman & James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Eddie Garza, former CCPD detective (Aug. 25, 2004) at 1 ("Re: whether CH was an informant: CH would sell out anyone just to get his ass out. Someone in narcotics was working him.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview of Jon Kelly, Lawyer for Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 9, 2004) at 07:32:08–07:33:54 ("Q. You said that you used Carlos Hernandez to do some investigation for you, to provide information. A. Sure I did. Q. Did the police have that kind of a relationship with Carlos Hernandez from time to time? A. I never asked him if he narc'ed, but I would imagine he did. I don't know. I heard that rumor.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Jon Kelly, Lawyer for Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 9, 2004) at 07:30:15 ("Sure, he [Carlos Hernandez] was an investigator all the time. . . . And he was pretty good at times. He could find people, and without harming them could convince them that maybe they needed to talk to me. He was somewhat effective at that. But basically he could find people. . . . He was an investigator. Sure cheaper and sure more effective than I would have been.");

Peso Chavez & James S. Liebman's Notes on Interviews with Jon Kelly, Lawyer for Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 16, 18, 20, 2004) at 5, 8, 9:

If I needed information in the community, he [Carlos Hernandez] could get it. People didn't lie to him. Could use his information in court. You could rely on it. People told him things because they were scared. 2 or 3 things he told me were useful to me in very serious cases where I made serious money. Mary St. was very violent, and he could get me information there. . . . Carlos did what I asked. He did me favors. I'd say, "Carlos, do you know about a guy name xxx." He would come back. . . . [The professional investigators in town who were Hispanic were lifers, in Army security—elite; their Spanish would stick out in the barrio. By contrast, Carlos H[ernandez] knew how to talk to people in the barrio. He was convincing (laughs). I asked him to find out, and he would find out. . . . Maybe he got me information. I offered him money for it. He said no, you'll do m[e] a favor some time; buy me a beer. . . . He [Hernandez] helped me on 2 or 3 cases. I wouldn't have gotten information in those cases without him.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:14:25–00:15:24:

Q. When the [Wanda Lopez] crime occurred, you indicated that you, soon after the homicide was committed, became aware of an individual who, you were told, through informants, had committed the crime. As I recall, that person was Carlos Hernandez. . . . [W]hen did you become aware of Carlos Hernandez and who made you aware of Carlos Hernandez?

A. Approximately two or three weeks [after the killing of Wanda Lopez]. There was talk from a couple of my informants that the person that they had arrested for this particular crime was not the person that had committed the crime. The person that had actually committed the crime was Carlos Hernandez, and Carlos DeLuna was the person that was being held for the crime itself. And these informants, like I said, relied on information that they had received by talking to some of the people that they congregate with in the streets.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:16:38–00:17:16 ("Q. And again, just to be clear on this, you provided her [Olivia Escobedo], the chief investigator, main investigator on the Wanda Lopez homicide, information that Carlos Hernandez was the perpetrator of this crime. Is that correct? A. I advised her that they needed to look at him very hard, look very hard at Carlos Hernandez, because he was the person out in the streets boasting that he had gotten someone else to take the fall for him.");

see also infra note 58 and accompanying text.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:18:07, 00:31:10:

And [Carlos Hernandez] he was always involved in some type of crime . . . . He was always getting involved in fights within the area. . . . Carlos Hernandez was almost always assaulting women and assaulting guys. And his weapon of choice was a knife. He always had a knife on him. And most of the time it was cutting up people or hitting them with a beer bottle or something. But he was always involved in mostly violent crimes.

See supra Chapter 6, notes 196–201 and accompanying text.

Steve Mills & Maurice Possley, The Secret That Wasn't, Violent Felon Bragged that He Was Real Killer,Chi. Trib., June 27, 2006, http://www.chicagotribune.com/services/newspaper/eedition/chi-tx-3-story,0,761635.htmlstory:

And one of Corpus Christi's senior detectives at the time of the crime now says he believes De Luna was wrongly executed. The former detective, Eddie Garza, said tipsters told him that Hernandez killed Lopez, the mother of a 6-year-old girl. Yet it appears those tips were not pursued.

Garza knew both men [Carlos Hernandez and Carlos DeLuna] and said Lopez's slaying was the kind of crime Hernandez would commit, not De Luna.

"I don't think [De Luna] had it in him to do something like this and stab somebody to death," Garza said.

But Hernandez, he added, "was a ruthless criminal. He had a bad heart. I believe he was a killer."

See supra note 53.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Freddy Schilling, Brother-in-Law of Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Feb. 24, 2005) at 14:17:03–14:18:38:

Q. You mention that you had these conversations with Paul Rivera about your brother-in-law, Carlos Hernandez. Tell me about that.

A. Paul Rivera—In fact, one day he told me himself, "You know what, man? Your brother-in-law sure is one crazy motherfucker." He says, "He even scares me that he's going to do something to my family." He told me, words just like that.

Q. Paul Rivera's a big guy.

A. Big guy. . . .

Q. Tell me about any other things that they suspected Carlos Hernandez of.

A. [Detective Paul Rivera] did mention something about, that they suspected him [Hernandez] of other killings of women, one under the Harbor Bridge, I believe, and one on Leopard [Street near downtown Corpus Christi] . . . .

Q. Do you know about when it was that that conversation took place?

A. Oh, God, I can't. I know it was in the eighties, mid-eighties maybe.

Peso Chavez's Notes on Interview with Freddy Schilling, Brother-in-Law of Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 5, 2004) at 2 (discussing an occasion when Schilling "was questioned by Paul Rivera of the Corpus Christi PD [and] Mr. Rivera told him, 'This guy (referring to Carlos Hernandez) scares me. I know he killed this girl. He's also a suspect in killing other girls—the Harbor Bridge Killing'");

see Bruce Whitman & James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Eddie Garza, former CCPD detective (Aug. 25, 2004) at 2 (recalling an unsolved Corpus Christi murder from the 1980s involving "someone found under Harbor Bridge");

James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Paul Rivera, Corpus Christi Police Detective (July 14, 2004) at 5 (discussing unsolved murder of victim "found under Harbor Bridge");

Sara Lee Fernandez & Mike Baird, Cases Not Closed: Police Continue Homicide Investigations, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, June 20, 2005, available at http://www.caller.com/news/2005/jun/20/cases-not-closed/ (discussing unsolved Corpus Christi murders including of "Hortencia Obregon Mata," who "was found beaten and nude under the south end of the Harbor Bridge on April 21, 1982"); see also Peso Chavez & James S. Liebman's Notes on Interviews with Jon Kelly, Lawyer for Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 16, 18, 20, 2004) at 3, 6:

I'm sure he [Carlos Hernandez] was involved in other killings I hear[d] that . . . . Paul Rivera told me Carlos Hernandez committed other crimes. Paul resented that I got him [Hernandez] off [after Hernandez was charged with the Dahlia Sauceda killing in 1986]. Carlos had a reputation, and that reputation was probably well deserved. There was a litany of crimes (murders) that CH [Carlos Hernandez was said to have] committed. Not sure he committed all of them. . . . "They [police] had a litany of sins" they thought Hernandez had committed.

James S. Liebman's Notes on Bruce Whitman's Interview with Manuel DeLuna, Carlos DeLuna's Brother (Aug. 17, 2004) at 1:

[Manuel DeLuna] was incarcerated in old Clemens unit near Houston between '87 and '91. He was [in] rec [yard] and [Miguel] Ortiz comes up: 'You're from Corpus Christi? CDL's [Carlos DeLuna's] brother?' [Ortiz] also from Corpus Christi. He [Ortiz] 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 [Carlos DeLuna], took the fall.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:15:44–00:16:38:

Q. Now, after being told this, did you provide this information to the officers investigating the homicide?

A. I contacted the detective in charge and informed of the information that I had received, but the detective itself [sic] said that they had enough evidence linking Carlos DeLuna to the crime itself. So I just backed away from it and let her work her case.

Q. Now, who was the detective in charge of that investigation, the Carlos DeLuna investigation?

A. The detective that was in charge of the case was Olivia Escobedo. She worked mostly rapes and was assigned a couple of homicides during the time.

Steve Mills & Maurice Possley, The Secret That Wasn't, Violent Felon Bragged that He Was Real Killer,Chi. Trib., June 27, 2006, available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/services/newspaper/eedition/chi-tx-3-story,0,761635.htmlstory:

And one of Corpus Christi's senior detectives at the time of the crime now says he believes De Luna was wrongly executed. The former detective, Eddie Garza, said tipsters told him that Hernandez killed Lopez, the mother of a 6-year-old girl. Yet it appears those tips were not pursued. . . .

While some in Corpus Christi kept silent about Hernandez, others apparently did not.

Garza, a detective at the time, recalled getting tips just days after De Luna was arrested that someone else was talking about how he had stabbed the gas station clerk.

"We were getting information that Carlos Hernandez was the one that had done the case," said Garza, who now is a private investigator. "Several people were telling us that."

Garza says he passed along the information to the detective leading the investigation, Olivia Escobedo.

See Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:15:44–00:16:38 ("Q. Now, who was the detective in charge of that investigation, the Carlos DeLuna investigation? A. The detective that was in charge of the case was Olivia Escobedo. She worked mostly rapes and was assigned a couple of homicides during the time.");

Tamara Theiss's Notes on Interview with Olivia Escobedo, Lead Detective on the Dahlia Sauceda and Wanda Lopez Murders (Feb. 27. 2005) at 1–2:

I was most interested in sex offenses, and specialized in investigating sex offenses. There were times, however, when based on my night shift hours, and the officer rotation, that I would have to respond to other kinds of calls. . . . Although I specialized in investigating sex crimes, I became the lead investigator on the Wanda Lopez case because I just happened to be working as the lead investigator on the night shift when her 911 call came in. I remember that I had only been at work for a few minutes when her call came in. I recall that it was a "robbery in progress" which justified sending an investigator and a lot of police to look for the suspect. . . . [While learning to be a detective] I worked under Paul Rivera and Eddie Garza. Today I feel grateful to them because they taught me how to investigate a crime.

Steve Mills & Maurice Possley, The Secret That Wasn't, Violent Felon Bragged that He Was Real Killer,Chi. Trib., June 27, 2006, available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/services/newspaper/eedition/chi-tx-3-story,0,761635.htmlstory (interviewing Escobedo "who primarily had investigated sex crimes [for the Corpus Christi Police Department] and handled the De Luna case alone."); infra Chapter 10, notes 4–5 and accompanying text.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:16:38–00:17:16 ("Q. And again, just to be clear on this, you provided her, the chief investigator, main investigator on the Wanda Lopez homicide, information that Carlos Hernandez was the perpetrator of this crime. Is that correct? A. I advised her that they needed to look at him very hard, look very hard at Carlos Hernandez, because he was the person out in the streets boasting that he had gotten someone else to take the fall for him.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:23:30–00:25:00:

Q. And were you the only Corpus Christi police officer who arrested Carlos Hernandez?

A. No, there were several other officers that were involved in arresting Carlos Hernandez. It wasn't me all the time.

Q. Was Carlos Hernandez familiar to most policemen in the police department?

A. Well, the policemen that actually were involved in investigating some of the crimes that he had committed, yes there were several officers that knew him. The patrol division knew who he was, knew his hangouts, and the people that he hung out with.

Q. Did the criminal investigation division, were they aware of Carlos Hernandez?

A. Myself and my partners, we were well aware of Carlos Hernandez and what he was capable of doing.

Q. In 1983, did the officers in the criminal investigation division know of, know who Carlos Hernandez was?

A. In regards to being a suspect in a crime, yes, we were aware that Carlos Hernandez might be a possible suspect.

Q. But it's safe to say that he was familiar to the C.I.D. division within the Corpus Christi police department. Is that correct?

A. Definitely. Most of the detectives in the criminal investigation division knew of Carlos Hernandez.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:22:43–00:23:30 ("Q. Mr. Garza, you are familiar with Carlos Hernandez when he was a young man. Is that correct? A. Yes, I arrested him several times for several crimes: petty theft crimes and little assault cases and stuff. He was always getting involved in some type of crime or another. The guy had an arrest record—unbelievable. And he had been arrested numerous times for different types of crimes.").

See Bruce Whitman & James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective (Aug. 25, 2004) at 1 ("Carlos Hernandez was a bad, bad guy. Ever since he was a juvenile. Most of the police officers would have known who CH [Carlos Hernandez] was (in 1983). So would prosecutors. I don't know why it wasn't followed up (the claim that CH did it [committed the Lopez killing]).");

Peso Chavez & James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with Jon Kelly, Lawyer for Carlos Hernandez (Aug. 16, 18, 20, 2004) at 7:

CH [Carlos Hernandez] was notorious. Well known. That's why he was arrested. When Jack Blackmon asked me to take the case, his court manager (Carlos) said I should know who CH was. DA said the same thing. They let me know at the time he was a real slime. I know they let me know that CH was a bad guy. Very notorious. As of 1983, [Detectives] Rivera and Garza knew of CH. They never liked him. . . . Anyone in homicide [at the Corpus Police Department] w[ou]ld know who CH was. If you worked that area of town, they'd know.

See also supra note 59.

See supra note 59.

See supra Chapter 7, notes 39–41, 87–92 and accompanying text.

See Tamara Theiss's Notes on Interview with Olivia Escobedo, Lead Detective on the Dahlia Sauceda and Wanda Lopez Murders (Feb. 27. 2005) at 1 ("I remember [in the Dahlia Sauceda killing] that Carlos Hernandez was also questioned, along with [Pete] Olivarez and [Jesse] Garza, and that all three men were given polygraph exams. Mr. Garza was the one who was prosecuted because Mr. Olivarez was an eyewitness and said that he had seen Garza kill Ms. Sauceda.").

Escobedo's familiarity with Carlos Hernandez in connection with the Dahlia Sauceda murder is discussed supra Chapter 7, notes 39–41, 87–92 and accompanying text; see also supra note 19 and accompanying text; infra note 108 and accompanying text.

See supra Chapter 7, and notes 39–44 and accompanying text.

See supra Chapter 7, and notes 69–134 and accompanying text.

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Trial Test., Texas v. Jesse Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Feb. 8, 1980) at 809:

Q. So as of today; to the best of your knowledge, there is no other physical evidence?

A. To my knowledge there is not.

Q. But you wouldn't it swear to it, would you?

A. No, sir.

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 not 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. Okay, not this taped conversation was a conversation that took place while Carlos Hernandez was in custody?

A. He was in the police station. . . .

Q. Have you ever talked to Carlos Hernandez?

A. No, sir, I personally have not.

Q. Would you mind talking to him and finding out whether there was any physical evidence that he would know about that the police may have taken from him?

Mr. Botary: Your Honor, that is not permissible under the rules. . . .

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Trial Test., Texas v. Jesse Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Feb. 8, 1980) at 819 ("Q. As far as under shorts belonging to Carlos Hernandez, did anyone inform you that they had that underwear in their possession? A. No, sir.");

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Trial Test., Texas v. Jesse Garza, No. 79-CR–881-C (Nueces Cty., 94th Dist. Tex. Feb. 8, 1980) at 825–26:

Q. As far as you know, I have never seen that knife and I have never seen that pair of shorts?

A. You have told me this morning you have not seen them prior to today.

Q. And I didn't ask you for the knife? I didn't ask you for the shorts before this trial began, did I?

A. No, sir.

Q. And I explained to you why it was that I believed there was a knife in existence, did I not?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. And that was because I had heard a telephone conversation?

A. That is correct.

Q. And that's when Carlos [Hernandez] was speaking to his mother?

A. That is correct.

Q. And I told you his mother ask[ed] him did they find a knife or did they have a knife?

Mr. Botary: I object to him going forward on hearsay. . . .

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:23:30–00:25:00:

Q. And were you the only Corpus Christi police officer who arrested Carlos Hernandez?

A. No, there were several other officers that were involved in arresting Carlos Hernandez. It wasn't me all the time.

Q. Was Carlos Hernandez familiar to most policemen in the police department?

A. Well, the policemen that actually were involved in investigating some of the crimes that he had committed, yes there were several officers that knew him. The patrol division knew who he was, knew his hangouts, and the people that he hung out with.

See Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:17:17–00:19:12:

Q. Now if I was to tell you that, in the trial of Carlos DeLuna, a police officer testified that they had reviewed or looked at all Carlos Hernandez's regarding this incident, the homicide of Wanda Lopez, and in trial they said that they had reviewed and looked at all Carlos's, Carlos Hernandez's, and there was no Carlos Hernandez that they felt was connected to this case. Would that be surprising to you?

A. Well, I don't remember a police officer testifying in court to this case, but there was a Carlos Hernandez, and I knew Carlos Hernandez ever since he was a juvenile because I arrested him many times. And he lived around the Carrizo-Laredo Street area. And he was always involved in some type of crime . . . and several other assaults that he was involved in. He was always getting involved in fights within the area. So I knew there was a Carlos Hernandez. If somebody got up and testified that there was no Carlos Hernandez, there sure was, and I can testify to that because I arrested him several times.

See Google Maps http://goo.gl/Pgpxk (last visited May 5, 2012) (indicating distances between the police headquarters and the intersection of Staples and Mary (approximately ten blocks) and between police headquarters and the location of Fidela Hernandez's house on Carrizo Street where it dead ends before reaching Laredo (approximately six blocks).

Chapter 9
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