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New Website Documents “Wrongful” Texas Execution

May 15, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas - A treasure trove for true-crime fans is being touted as near-proof that the state of Texas executed an innocent man. Available online starting today: police photos, court files, taped witness interviews, 911 recordings, and a novel-syle report about a Corpus Christi murder in 1983.

The website comprises the largest single public collection of information about a criminal case, according to the Columbia Law School professor and his students who posted the results of their 18-month study, published in the University's Human Rights Law Review.

Kristin Houlé, executive director of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, predicts the report will give pause to even the most steadfast supporters of capital punishment.

"There not only is substantial evidence that the state of Texas executed the wrong person, but also that law enforcement knowingly turned a blind eye to the real perpetrator."

The website - "TheWrongCarlos.net" - portrays the arrest and conviction of Carlos DeLuna as a case of mistaken identity. He always maintained that another "Carlos" who looked strikingly similar was responsible for the convenience-store murder of single mother Wanda Lopez.

One of the many examples of source material on the site is a recorded interview with Eddie Garza, a seasoned Corpus Christi police detective who was highly critical of the DeLuna investigation.

"There was too much evidence that could have been obtained that was never even touched. If I was sitting in a jury I could not convict."

The report concludes that if it weren't for a sloppy, rushed investigation, and a shoddy defense, prosecutors would likely have realized that all evidence pointed to another, notoriously violent, man, who was arrested for similar assaults on women before the Lopez murder, and even after DeLuna's conviction.

Houlé says while everything seemed to go wrong for DeLuna, his case was not an anomaly. Death-penalty mistakes, she insists, are all too common.

"Twelve people have been exonerated and released from Texas' death row, and there are numerous cases where new evidence has called into question whether people who have already been put to death were indeed wrongfully convicted."

She says today's launch of "TheWrongCarlos.net" is particularly timely, as executions, and support for the death penalty, have been declining in Texas and nationally. She attributes changing attitudes to more and more people realizing that wrongful executions are not only possible, they've probably already happened.

The report is at: www.thewrongcarlos.net.

Peter Malof, Public News Service - TX