Murder-For-Hire Arrest Made: Who Planned Kendra Hatcher's Murder?

Did a murder-for-hire killing stem from one woman's jealous rage? This is the accusation being made by Dallas police, following the arrest of the alleged killer.

Maj. Max Geron of the Dallas Police Department spoke at a press conference on October 2, where he announced a major break in the shooting death of 35-year-old Kendra Hatcher. Hatcher was a beloved dentist in the Dallas community who was murdered execution-style outside of her upscale apartment on September 2.

According to the DPD Beat, authorities detained 31-year-old Kristopher Love, the man who police claim was hired to murder Kendra. Love was charged with capital murder and the unlawful possession of a firearm. He is being held on a $2.5 million bond.

Also in custody is the alleged driver, a woman named Crystal Cortes. The 23-year-old was charged with capital murder because she acted as the "getaway driver" for Love. Cortes insisted that she was tricked into participating in the murder. She told authorities she borrowed the car from "an acquaintance" to aid in what she thought would be a robbery. Crystal said she expected to make $500 for dropping off a man, later identified as Love, to rob Kendra. However, things didn't go as planned.
"[Love] got out of the car and I started to drive off. But I got stuck behind another car, and after he shot her, he got into the back seat and ordered me to drive again.

He had a gun … what was I supposed to do? That's all. I didn't know he was going to shoot somebody."

At first Cortes claimed she thought Kristopher was going to "pick up a license." Later, she said she understood it was a robbery. The acquaintance from whom Cortes borrowed the getaway car was interviewed by police around the time of the murder -- she's now sought as the mastermind behind the entire murder-for-hire plot.NBC News and the Associated Press reported that Dallas authorities issued an arrest warrant for 33-year-old Brenda Delgado, who is now facing a capital murder charge.

A closer look at the woman at the heart of the murder-for-hire case strongly suggests that the motive for Kendra Hatcher's death was jealousy. It turns out that Brenda's ex, Ricardo "Ricky" Paniagua, had started dating the victim. TheDaily Mail writes that Brenda was somewhat obsessed with the idea of being with Paniagua. She apparently told her friends that his work as a dermatologist made him a financial success.

A person who knew Brenda told the press that "[s]he kept reiterating that he was going to have money and that dermatology's the highest-paying type of medicine."

Her comfortable life as the wife of a successful dermatologist wasn't to be.

Weeks after implying to friends that they were engaged, Brenda Delgado tearfully admitted that she was dumped by Paniagua. His family apparently didn't approve of her, and his mother specifically had misgivings about Brenda's psychological state. When she learned that Ricky had started to court Kendra, Brenda was furious. Persons who knew Delgado say she became especially upset when her ex-boyfriend took Hatcher to San Francisco "to meet his family," a privilege not extended to her.

It was apparent that Brenda was unable to let the failed relationship go. Her obsession with Paniagua reportedly became an obsession with Hatcher. Friends of Delgado and Hatcher believe it was enough to drive the spurned lover to plan a murder-for-hire scenario that would take the new woman out of the picture.

The family of Kendra Hatcher has since spoken out about her brutal murder.

"We will miss Kendra tremendously, especially her laugh and smiles. But we cannot fully mourn and celebrate her life until the authorities apprehend the person(s) responsible for committing this senseless act."
Dallas Police request that anyone with information about this case or the whereabouts of Brenda Delgado to call Detective Barnes with the Dallas Police Department Homicide Unit at 214-283-4818.

[Image Credit: Dallas County Police]