How Texas Executed an Innocent Man

Carlos DeLuna allegedly took the fall for Carlos Hernandez
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2012 8:56 AM CDT

(Newser) – Carlos DeLuna was executed in 1989 for the murder of Wanda Lopez, but a 400-page article in the Columbia Human Rights Law Review asserts that Texas actually put the wrong man to death, while the real killer bragged about the murder and the fact that DeLuna took the fall. Lopez, a gas station attendant, was stabbed to death in 1983 by a man who had been lurking outside the store and later came in demanding money. The journal article alleges that Carlos Hernandez, who died in prison on other charges in 1999, was the true murderer; DeLuna said the two men had been together at a strip club before the murder, and that he fled when he saw Hernandez attack Lopez.

Both DeLuna and Hernandez had histories of violence and substance abuse. Witnesses gave very different descriptions of the suspect, some of which matched DeLuna and others of which matched Hernandez; the two men also happened to look similar. DeLuna was found beneath a nearby truck, with no trace of blood on his white shirt even though Lopez had bled profusely. The only witness who saw the struggle between Lopez and her murderer was only half-sure DeLuna was the right man. The article goes on to assert other problems with the allegedly shoddy investigation and equally incompetent defense assigned to DeLuna. See the Houston Chronicle and the Guardian for more.

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