DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The defendant’s own words dominated testimony during day three of Kristopher Love‘s capital murder trial.
He is the accused gunman in a murder-for-hire plot targeting Dallas dentist Dr. Kendra Hatcher.
Prosecutors say her new boyfriend’s obsessive ex-girlfriend, Brenda Delgado, wanted her out of the way, and offered to pay Love in cash and drugs to do the job.
“I don’t know them,” claimed Love in a videotaped interview with police detectives played for jurors Wednesday. “I know I never rode nowhere with them.”
Not only did Love claim to not know Delgado, he also initially told police detectives that he didn’t know Crystal Cortes. Cortes testified Tuesday that she drove the getaway car and was present when Love pulled the trigger.
At one point during the nearly 20-hour police interview, Love insisted, “That ain’t got nothing to do with me bruh, I didn’t kill that lady.”
But after detectives supplied him with barbecue, a blanket, cigarettes, coffee and a phone to check on his kids, Love continued to talk.
At one point, on the videotape he is seen admitting that he was in fact in the parking garage where Dr. Hatcher was murdered, but he claimed that he was under orders from a “cartel” to steal her purse and ID.
According to Love, the confessed getaway driver, Crystal Cortes, pulled the trigger, but detectives weren’t buying it: they’d recovered the murder weapon from Love’s car.
In earlier testimony, Prosecutor Kevin Burns asked Dallas Police Detective Scott Sayers, “What did you do when you saw that gun hidden up and under that console?” Sayer responded, “Celebrated! I mean, high fives– we were ecstatic!”
By the time detectives interviewed Love, Brenda Delgado had already fled to Mexico.
That’s in spite of the fact that the man who owned the black Jeep spotted in the parking garage surveillance video came forward the day after the murder and told them that Delgado had borrowed his car. She was interrogated the following day. According to Dallas detective Eric Barnes, she seemed to know that police would be coming for her.
“Brenda seemed very prepared for the interview,” testified Barnes. “Her story never shifted. She even presented me with a receipt of her whereabouts at the time of the murder.” Detective Barnes went on to tell jurors that the receipt was in pristine condition– and that, somehow, seemed odd. “No wrinkles. No flaws, as though she was almost prepared for me to ask.”
Detective Barnes testified that they didn’t have enough evidence to arrest Delgado before she fled. She was arrested in Mexico the following year. As part of an extradition agreement with Mexico, although she is charged with capital murder, she cannot be sentenced to death.
Crystal Cortes has accepted a plea deal and a 35-year prison sentence in exchange for her testimony.
Defense attorney Paul Johnson seized on the arrangement to try and raise doubt for the jury– saying she is blaming his client the murder in order to escape the death penalty for herself.
Nevertheless, the defendant’s own words keep coming back to implicate him. In spite of warnings that conversations with jail inmates can be recorded, Love discussed the case with his girlfriend following his arrest. He seemed amazed that his name and picture were in news reports and wanted to know what was said.
At one point, the girlfriend tells him that if he “shot that girl,” he should have gotten rid of the gun. On that recorded phone conversation, jurors heard Love respond “too late now”.
Testimony resumes Thursday morning in the 363rd district court before Judge Tracy Holmes.