In 1989, Carlos DeLuna was executed for stabbing a gas station clerk to death in Corpus Christi. But a new report by Columbia University law professor James Liebman says that DeLuna was the wrong man.
According to Liebman, DeLuna was put to death after a “very incomplete investigation.”
“I would say that across the board, there was nonchalance… It looked like a common case, but we found that there was a very serious claim of innocence. Everything went wrong in this case.”
The report, entitled “Los Tocayos Carlos: Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution,” points out several missteps in the case. Liebman said that the eye witness accounts of the murder contradicted each other. The photographs showed that the killer would most likely have blood on their pants and shoes but DeLuna’s clothes were clean. Police also failed to track down Carlos Hernandez, a man who bore a striking resemblance to DeLuna and who had the reputation of using a knife.
The AFP also notes that DeLuna didn’t fit the description of the killer. One eyewitness account said that the killer had a mustache and was wearing a grey flannel shirt. DeLuna was clean shaven and wearing a dress shirt when he was arrested. Another report said that the killer fled to the north. DeLuna was caught and arrested east of the crime scene.
Liebman’s report says that DeLuna was wrongfully executed. But DeLuna wasn’t the only person to die from his wrongful conviction. Hernandez, who most likely committed the murder that sent DeLuna to death row, stabbed a woman to death several years later.
“Unfortunately, the flaws in the system that wrongfully convicted and executed DeLuna — faulty eyewitness testimony, shoddy legal representation and prosecutorial misconduct — continue to send innocent men to their death today.”
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