Hernandez's newly shorn moustache at the time of that arrest—the only time he was without it in twenty years21—suggests how little interest he had just then in having his usual appearance compared to Kevan Baker's description of the killer. His surreptitious relocation from his last known address22 suggests the same about his desire to be located by the cops and subpoena servers.23 Although there is no way of knowing how much of an opportunity Hernandez had to send DeLuna a message while both were in jail in Corpus in early April 1983, one wonders whether a message did reach the younger man.24 If it did, and if it was anything like the message Hernandez's henchmen conveyed with their fists to Pedro Olivarez in the Casino Club parking lot in 197925—when DeLuna himself was in Hernandez's orbit26—the message just might have kept DeLuna quiet until the eve of trial.27
Just as Carlos DeLuna did for the rest of his short life, Carlos Hernandez told the same story until he died in 1999 at age forty-five: he, not DeLuna, "put the knife on Wanda's life."28 He confessed it to Miguel Ortiz in Armada Park in the mid–1980s29 and to Dina Ybañez in her Buford Street living room in the late 1980s,30 and he intimated the same thing to Lina Zapata in the early 1990s.31
Given the chatter that former Detective Eddie Garza picked up on the streets around Staples and Mary,32 the information Linda Perales got from multiple directions,33 what friends told Cindy Maxwell and what she herself confided to her sister,34 and the courthouse scuttlebutt that lawyer Albert Peña overheard,35 it is no overstatement to call it "common knowledge" in 1980s Corpus Christi that Carlos Gonzalez Hernandez killed Wanda Lopez.
There are others still living who probably know more. Cindy Maxwell almost certainly knows the truth.36 So may Rosa Anzaldua, Carlos Hernandez's wife at the time of the Shamrock killing, who refused to be interviewed and relive those "very painful" memories.37 Rosa's car, which Hernandez had taken from her at the time,38 may have provided a getaway once Hernandez reached the Circle K at McArdle and Kostoryz, where Officer Fowler had likely seen him earlier that evening,39 and where dozens of officers abandoned their search for him when Teresa Barrera spotted the hapless DeLuna under her truck.40
And so may Carlos Hernandez's lawyer Jon Kelly, who was forthright about Hernandez's penchant to confess—and about his own refusal to allow his client to talk41—and who may be constrained by an attorney-client privilege that survives the death of the client.42 Perhaps most intriguing, but least certain at this point, is what former Assistant District Attorney Ken Botary knows about Hernandez. Answers may lie in the tape recording and transcript from the Dahlia Sauceda case, which mysteriously disappeared in his care,43 and the physical evidence in the Wanda Lopez case, the trail of which also disappears at Botary's desk.44
Whatever else may be said, Carlos Hernandez was not a phantom. He was a frighteningly violent, strangely charismatic figure, who apart from his suspiciously rare trips to prison,45 almost never left a two-mile square area in the Corpus Christi barrio during the 1980s and 1990s46—not even to go to a mall to buy presentable clothes.47 Within that limited place and time, even as he was drinking himself to death, Carlos Hernandez exercised a horrifying degree of capricious power over the lives of the people around him. That he was allowed to do so for so many years at such a great cost to so many is no less a marker of the abject failure of the Texas criminal justice system during the period than the wrongful execution of Carlos DeLuna.
In both of these senses, it is not Carlos Hernandez, but justice and truth that are the phantoms of the story told here. It is not the ghost of Chipita Rodriguez,48 but the specter that the criminal justice system of Texas has mistaken the innocent for the guilty and the guilty for the innocent, that stalks the river bottoms whenever the state punishes the "guilty" with the infinite finality of death. If the truth dies with the executed man, so does justice, not only for him, but for the victim of the crime and for the real killer's other victims later to come.
* * * * *
See supra Chapter 12, notes 11–12 and accompanying text.
See supra Chapter 8, notes 98–107 and accompanying text.
See supra Chapter 8, notes 87–90 and accompanying text.
See supra Chapter 8, notes 85–86 and accompanying text.
See supra Chapter 8, notes 94–97 and accompanying text.
See supra Chapter 8, notes 108–11 and accompanying text.
See Peso Chavez's Notes on Attempt to Interview Rosa Anzaldua (Feb. 18, 2005) at 1 ("Ms. Anzaldua was very pleasant in her manner and speech but kindly asked that she not be bothered by anyone else in regard to this matter. She stated, 'I don't want to remember those days—it was very painful—I ask that no one come here again.' . . . I asked if it would be possible to send her written questions that she could answer at her convenience—she stated no. I then left.");
supra Chapter 6, notes 118–122 and accompanying text.
See supra Chapter 8, note 56 and accompanying text.
See supra Chapter 2, notes 206–214 and accompanying text.
See, e.g., Swindler & Berlin v. Hamilton, 524 U.S. 399, 410 (1998) (holding that attorney-client privilege survives the client's death); Cf. Tex. Evid. R. 503(a)(3) (providing only confidential conversations between lawyers and their clients are privileged and defining confidentiality in a way that would likely exclude conversations occurring in a public place, such as a bar, where some of Kelly's conversations with Hernandez occurred).
See supra Chapter 7, notes 199–203 and accompanying text.
See supra Chapter 6, notes 139–142 and accompanying text.
See supra Foreword, notes 9–10 and accompanying text.