Dallas: Spanish man sent 2 deathrow for killing dog/white partner set free 4 killin dogowner

Post Reply
User avatar
Quiet-Q
godfather
Posts: 49603
Joined: August 4th, 2007, 12:30 pm

Dallas: Spanish man sent 2 deathrow for killing dog/white partner set free 4 killin dogowner

Post by Quiet-Q » October 22nd, 2017, 10:42 am

Hypnotized witness helped put dog's killer on death row — but grandma's killer goes free
FILED UNDERCOURTS AT 2 DAYS AGO SHARE



The sun wasn’t up yet, but neighbors couldn’t help noticing the Volkswagen Beetle with purple waves that pulled in front of a house on Bergen Lane in Farmers Branch.
Two men got out and went inside the home.
Later that morning, William Black found his wife, Elizabeth “Betty” Black, and their Doberman, Santana, shot to death.
The house had been ransacked. Someone had been looking for — but hadn't found — $39,000 in cash hidden inside, drug money the couple had been holding on to while their son was in prison.
Days after the murder, the next-door neighbor who had gotten the best look at the two men asked Farmers Branch police to hypnotize her. She wanted to relax so she could describe one of the men she had glimpsed through the blinds that morning.
That neighbor’s testimony — and in-court identification of one of the men — helped convict Charles Don Flores of capital murder and sentence him to death.

Nearly 20 years later, another man, who admitted the murder, walks free. Flores, 47, remains on death row, and the testimony that helped put him there is in question.
An attorney for Flores says his conviction was based on "junk science" because the neighbor, Jill Barganier, had been hypnotized.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals blocked Flores' execution last year to allow the trial court to determine whether modern science negates Barganier's testimony and whether Flores would have been convicted without her identification.
"Take her out of the equation and there wouldn't have been a conviction," defense attorney Gretchen Sween contended during an appellate hearing last week.
The hearing continued this week before State District Judge Hector Garza and will resume in December when both sides present closing arguments. Testimony from the hearing will be sent to the Court of Criminal Appeals, along with the judge's recommendation.
At the heart of the appeal is how Barganier came to identify Flores in court after being unable to pick him out of two photo lineups. Did the hypnosis sway her?
Neighbors, including Barganier, told police in the days after the killing that they had seen two white men with long hair and medium builds get out of the VW bug.
"No one was talking about a fat Hispanic male," Sween said.

Flores is Hispanic and had short hair at the time.
But Dallas County prosecutors contend that Flores would've been convicted without Barganier's testimony.
"Barganier's in-court identification was far from the only evidence connecting him to the crime," Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Ott wrote in the state's response to the appeal.
Other witnesses said they had seen Flores with Richard Lynn Childs, the man who confessed, in the hours before the murder.
Childs pleaded guilty in 2000 to a reduced murder charge. He received a 35-year sentence and was released on parole in April 2016, two months before Flores was set to be executed.
When the appellate court stayed Flores' execution last year, Justice David Newell wrote that Flores had been "sentenced to death in part upon hypnotically-enhanced eyewitness testimony."

On the day Black was killed, Jan. 29, 1998, Barganier peered through her miniblinds around 6:45 a.m. after hearing the Beetle pull into the driveway of the Blacks' home.
She saw two men get out of the car and noticed that the driver was holding a beer bottle. She shrugged it off and continued her morning routine.
After learning later that her neighbor had been killed next door, she contacted police. She described the driver to a sketch artist and picked Childs out of a photo lineup.

But she wasn't confident identifying the passenger. She saw a photo in a lineup that could have been him, but she wasn't sure. She remembered his hair being longer than the images of short-haired men.
"Doing the first composite was terrible. It was very stressful," Barganier recalled in court last week. "I was a nervous, anxious wreck."
Which is why she asked to be hypnotized before she described the passenger to the sketch artist.
A Farmers Branch police officer — who had never performed hypnosis and never did again — counted down and told Barganier to imagine she was walking into a movie theater. The events of that early morning would be playing on the screen.
After the hypnosis, Barganier was shown another photo lineup but didn't point out Flores or anyone else.
But when she saw Flores in a courtroom more than a year later, she was confident he was the second man she had seen the morning her neighbor was killed.

"When I saw him in person, there wasn't any doubt," she said.
Charles Don Flores' mugshot bears little resemblance to a sketch based on an eyewitness's description given shortly after the murder.
Charles Don Flores' mugshot bears little resemblance to a sketch based on an eyewitness's description given shortly after the murder.
An expert testified during the appeals hearing that Barganier may have recognized Flores because she had seen him before: Investigators had shown her his picture twice in lineups.
Flores' mugshot was also shown in the newspaper and on TV newscasts, though Barganier said she didn't see the media coverage of the killing.
"People who make inaccurate identifications, they believe they're accurate," said Margaret Bull Kovera, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice who studies memory and eyewitness testimony. "They believe they're speaking the truth. They're not lying."
But Kovera questioned the validity of Barganier's identification of Flores, saying the witness had seen the two men at least 30 minutes before sunrise in dim light. And Barganier had paid close attention to an unimportant detail, the beer bottle, instead of the men's faces, Kovera said.
A tangled web of relationships led police to Flores. He didn't know Betty Black, but he had used meth with Childs in the hours before she was killed. Childs was dating Jackie Roberts. She's the ex-wife of Gary Black, the victim's son.
William and Betty Black gave their former daughter-in-law $500 a month to support their son's two children while he was locked up on a drug charge. Roberts knew the couple had money hidden in the house, and she gave Childs directions there.
She testified that Flores believed he had been shortchanged in a drug deal the night before Betty Black was killed and had demanded repayment.
But who actually shot the 64-year-old grandmother was in question. Childs was known to carry a gun in his waistband and was arrested with a box of cartridges that were the same caliber as the bullets from the crime scene. No physical evidence connected Flores to the murder.
Flores was tried under the "law of parties," which means that even if he wasn't the shooter, he was culpable because he was present when Betty Black was killed.
When a friend asked about the trouble Flores was in after the murder, Flores responded, "I only shot the dog," court records show.
But Flores claims that his friends and family were pressured by police to turn on him. He says he never said that and is innocent.
His defense team has argued that his conviction reflects racial bias in Dallas County prosecutions, because a Hispanic man was sentenced to death while the white man believed to be the shooter was given a 35-year sentence.

But Flores' behavior after the killing was suspicious, and prosecutors argued that his attempts to flee showed he was guilty.
Flores torched the psychedelic paint job off Childs' VW Beetle before fleeing the country. He was arrested three months later after a police chase. And he had to wear a stun belt during his trial because he had attacked a guard while trying to escape Dallas County jail custody.
Last year Flores told the online news site Splinter News that he ran because he was scared.
"You run when you know they can give you a life sentence. You also run if you know you're the only Mexican in a group of whites," he said. "I ran because I knew what was going to happen."
Ultimately, Barganier is the only eyewitness to put Flores at the scene of the crime, and the trial was the first time she identified him.
Her description of the morning's events had changed slightly. During the trial, she described "locking eyes" with Flores when he got out of the Volkswagen.
Before hypnosis, she had not said she had made eye contact with the passenger in the car.
"I'm not real clear if that's my imagination," Barganier testified about that claim during the appeals hearing.
During the hypnosis session, the officer told Barganier that she would be able to "recall more of these events as time goes on."

An expert on hypnosis said investigators pressured Barganier to identify the passenger when they hypnotized her.
But Barganier said she hadn't felt pressured to identify anyone during hypnosis. She said she simply wanted to relax before looking at another photo lineup.
"I couldn't even look at any other pictures without shaking," she said.
Steven Jay Lynn, a professor of psychology who studies hypnosis, testified at the appeals hearing that Barganier shouldn't have been hypnotized by a police officer who worked the crime scene.
"If she wanted relaxation, the last place she should go is the Police Department," Lynn said.
Attachments
Screenshot_20171022-113701.png
Screenshot_20171022-113701.png (392.61 KiB) Viewed 42 times
Screenshot_20171022-113655.png
Screenshot_20171022-113655.png (246.53 KiB) Viewed 42 times
Screenshot_20171022-113649.png
Screenshot_20171022-113649.png (284.08 KiB) Viewed 42 times
Screenshot_20171022-113639.png
Screenshot_20171022-113639.png (221 KiB) Viewed 42 times