Delgado capital murder conviction affirmed

Delgado capital murder conviction affirmed
Photo credit Getty Images

The capital murder conviction of Brenda Delgado of Dallas has been upheld by an appeals court.

The 5th Court of Appeals in Dallas rejected all 11 claims Delgado made on an appeal for the capital murder of Uptown Dallas dentist Doctor Kendra Hatcher, who was shot to death in the parking garage of her Uptown Dallas apartment on September 2, 2015.

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Over four days of testimony in 2019, prosecutors painted Delgado as a woman bent on revenge against her romantic rival. At the time of her death, Hatcher was dating Delgado's former boyfriend, Ricardo Paniagua.

The jury found Delgado guilty of capital murder in 20-minutes. The sentence was automatic, life in prison without parole.

The key witness in the State’s case was Delgado’s friend, Crystal Cortes, who helped conduct surveillance of Hatcher’s movements and who served as the getaway driver in the dentist's killing, got a 35-year prison sentence for her testimony.

Cortes told the jury Delgado paid her $500.

The murder was well planned. A car borrowed from a friend of Delgado’s was used by Cortes who drove gunman Kristopher Love to the garage, then made their escape after Love shot Hatcher in the head.

The man who loaned the car was unaware of the plot but recognized his vehicle from a video that police published as they sought the killer.

Love was convicted of accepting drugs and money to commit the murder.  He was sentenced to death.

Immediately after the shooting, Delgado left the country after Hatcher's killing and was arrested in Mexico in 2016. Mexico, which opposes the death penalty, only agreed to extradite Delgado if Dallas County prosecutors would not seek the death penalty.

In her appeal, Delgado raised 11 issues that included insufficient evidence to support a conviction, a claim of an improper jury charge, an assertion that prospective jurors were improperly excused during the selection process, and the trial judge’s decision to allow hearsay evidence.

“Because we find no reversible error, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.” The appeals court ruled in its opinion. Delgado will now appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal appeals, her last resort for getting a new trial or the conviction overturned.