Part 3: The secret that wasn't
Violent felon bragged that he was real killer. Last of three parts.
By Maurice Possley and Steve Mills
Tribune staff reporters
Published June 26, 2006
It was a secret they all shared. Some kept it out of fear. Some because no one ever asked. Whatever their reasons, it was a secret that might have saved Carlos De Luna from the execution chamber.
Twenty-three years after Wanda Lopez was murdered in the gas station where she worked, family members and acquaintances of another man, Carlos Hernandez, have broken their silence to support what De Luna had long asserted: Hernandez, a violent felon, killed Lopez in 1983.
A Tribune investigation has identified five people who say Hernandez told them that he stabbed Lopez and tahat De Luna, whom he called his "stupid tocayo," or namesake, went to Death Row in his place.
They also say he admitted killing another woman, in 1979, a crime for which he was indicted but never tried.
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