|Contact Valentin Moreno|
3899 Hwy 98
New Boston, TX 75570
|DOB: July 19, 1976|
|Valentin Moreno's case data|
|State and County||Texas, Hidalgo County|
|Crime||(1) count of capital murder, (1) count of attempted capital murder|
|Date of Crime||December 15, 1995|
|Date of Arrest||December 22, 1995|
|Date of Conviction||March 1997|
|Sentence||Life (40 flat years before eligable for parole)|
|Age at the Date of Crime||21|
|Contributing Factors||Perjury, Official Misconduct, Mistaken Eyewitness Identification, Ineffectiveness of Counsel|
|Did DNA evidence contribute to the conviction?||No|
|Is there DNA evidence to test?||No|
“I was falsely convicted with a mistaken identification (one that can be proven), a dirty police investigator, a prosecutor after a conviction – not justice -, and with trial attornies that did nothing but play a role in a bogus trial. All my attornies would speak about before and during trial was the appeals. We had not even begun trial, and they were already speaking about appeals.”
The night this crime occurred I was at my neighbors’ home. There was a boxing match with Oscar de la Joya, and myself along with my neighbors and their friends stayed to watch the fight. I was at my neighbors’ home between 9:00 PM and 12:00 PM. Before 10:00 PM, I made a run to a store a block away and my home. During the night, I made numerous calls and received several calls at my neighbors’ home.
According to police reports, this crime took place between 10:45 PM and 11:00 PM. During this time I was at my neighbors’ home. This crime took place December 15, 1995. I was arrested on December 22, 1995. I believe I was picked out as a suspect due to suggestive procedures by an investigator. A state witness clearly confused me for my best friend. She tried explaining her confusion to the police and prosecutor. However, the more she explained herself, the more pressure and suggestive tactics the state used. This witness after trial recanted and admitted having confused me for my best friend.
My court appointed attorneys failed to conduct a dilegent investigation. Different witnesses that would have proven a mistaken identification or/and established my innocence were never even interviewed.
Not every innocent person can prove they have been falsely convicted with DNA evidence. I am one of those innocent persons. However, this case has physical evidence and crime scene evidence that clearly shows the state’s witnesses lied. I am not calling them liars, the evidence is! The evidence I speak about was never before my jury. That is because my court appointed attorneys never investigated properly. I was on trial for my life, the State of Texas paid the defense investigator no more than US$ 500.00, in a capital murder case. What kind of investigation can one get for that kind of money?
An eye-witness, that identified the assailants as two dark-complected and one light-complected with blondish hair, never testified. As you can see from my pictures, I am light-complected, “but” I have never had blondish hair. My hair has always been black. Everything this witness told police the night of the crime was supported by facts and the physical evidence. My attorneys alleged this witness returned to Mexico and could not be found for my trial. If that was the case, they never asked Mexico in assisting them locating this witness for a life or death trial. Everything this eye-witness told police is the complete opposite of the testimonies put on by the State.
I was convicted on the testimonies of three state witnesses. One has officially recanted and is willing to help in saying the truth. The other two, one claimed my face was covered with a bandana and hat and only saw my eyes at night. The other claimed he saw my face, no bandana or cap. Two different stories, but both claim seeing the same thing. The state’s witnesses’ oral testimonies are not supported by evidence.
Simply put, I was falsely convicted with a mistaken identification (one that can be proven), a dirty police investigator, a prosecutor after a conviction – not justice -, and with trial attornies that did nothing but play a role in a bogus trial. All my attornies would speak about before and during trial was the appeals. We had not even begun trial, and they were already speaking about appeals. What chance did I possibly have?
Experts in the Field of Forensic Pathology and Ballistics Needed
The following is the essence of the eye-witness’ testimony:
Raúl [the murder victim] and Missial got off the truck to use the public phone. I stayed in the truck. Raúl had parked next to the phone. I saw five armed guys running towards our direction. Four positioned themselves at the front of the truck, the fifth guy was standing at the front driver’s side. (See Exhibit A) The fifth guy I recognized as Joe García. He was arguing with Raúl, the driver’s side door was between them. As they argued I focused on these guys’ faces, at the front of the truck. That is when I saw Joe shot Raúl. Raúl pushed Missial in the truck, by this time all these guys were shooting. By the time Raúl got in the truck he had already been shot many times. Raúl got the truck on and drove away. I could still hear gunshots. According to this eye-witness [Ivonne Gonzalez], one of the shooters had his face covered with a bandana and beanie, so was only able to see his eyes. She stated she had never seen me before, but claimed she was 100 percent sure about my eyes. I was identified as the shooter with his face covered.
Check this out:
Gonzalez testified that when Joe shot Raúl, the driver’s door was between them. That suggests a close range gunshot. Plus she alleged Raúl had been shot many times before getting in the truck.
Fact: Raúl was only shot once. Raúl’s sole bullet wound was identified as a “distant gunshot”.
The autopsy report and pathologist testimony identify an entry gunshot wound to the back with an exit wound at the left upper chest. (See Exhibit B + C) The pathologist identified an abrasion to the right inner arm. However, explained this was not a gunshot wound. So, based on the facts, Raúl was shot once. Now for the best part.
Gonzalez claimed she was focused on these guys’ faces, when she saw Joe shot Raúl. The core of her testimony is Raúl gets shot while outside the truck, by these guys standing at the front of the truck.
Facts: Raúl was shot while inside the truck, by a shooter firing from the rear of the truck.
The truck’s bed back wall has a bullet hole, as does the truck’s cab back wall. There is a bullet hole through the driver’s seat back rest. The sole bullet that struck Raúl, penetrated the truck’s back walls, going through the driver’s seat back rest, then piercing into Raúl’s back. (See Exhibit C, D+ E)
Gonzalez told the jury that she was focused on these guys’ faces, when she saw Joe shot Raúl. The physical evidence tells us she never saw when Raúl was shot. She lied about having seen Joe shoot Raúl. What does that say about her claim of having been focused on these guys’ faces when Joe shot Raúl? This testimony was crucial, during deliberations the jury wanted to hear this testimony again. (See Exhibit F)
Just like the testimony of witness Beatrice Trevino (Trevino recanted after trial!), Gonzalez’ testimony played a big part in the jury’s verdict. The physical evidence was never broken down for the jury as explained herein. This issue has been submitted to the appeal courts, their ruling has been, “Moreno has failed to provide a testimonal affidavit by a qualified expert showing what his testimony would have been.” For lack of an expert, my false conviction stands on lies and the truth remains suppressed. The physical evidence explained herein is undisputed, it is fact and on point. It must be mentioned that all spent bullet casings recovered, were found 20 to 30 yards away from the public phone. Suggesting there was never a shooting around the phone area. Plus all spent bullet casings were identified as coming from “two” weapons, not five.
Remember, I have explained that the witness that could not be located for my trial told police there were three assailants and out of the three, only two were shooters. Furthermore, all the physical evidence explained herein supports what this witness told police that night. Her name is Dolores Martinez. Plus her discription of the three assailants clearly does not match me.
Valentin Moreno: not only innocent but victim of a frame-up?
I am alleging that the entire capital murder case against me is based on police frame-up. The evidence against me consists of three witnesses. These three witnesses only identified me after being re-interviewed by Detective Joseph Buenrostro.
Physical and ballistic-related evidence shows that the testimonies of two witnesses are false and were fabricated. As for the third witness: She has recanted her trial testimony admitting that she confused me for my best friend.
There is evidence supporting her recantation and claim of a mistaken identification, as well as evidence of suggestive identification procedures.
In proving that the evidence introduced at trial by these three witnesses was false and fabricated the end result is actual innocence. To put my frame-up and actual innocence claims in context, I must first introduce three prior cases.
In 1993, I was arrested for burning a stolen vehicle. I admit that I helped burn this stolen car, but I had no part in the stealing of the vehicle. Upon being released into my parents’ custody, there was an argument that almost turned into a physical conflict between Detective Buenrostro and my father. (See Exhibit A)
Also in 1993, I was involved in a burglary. In this case, Detective Buenrostro falsely labeled me as a snitch. As a direct result of the snitch label, I was threatened and assaulted. There was a complaint made with Detective Buenrostro’s supervisor. (See Exhibit’s A Pg.2, B,C & D)
In 1994, I was involved in an attempted burglary. In this case, Detective Buenrosrtro threatened and coerced two juveniles (Noe Lopez and Severo Stoleo) to sign fabricated statements against me. See Exhibit E (pdf, 3 pages):
“Valentin directed me to a house. Valentin said a friend of his lived there.”
“Valentin got off the car and went to the front door. I told Gonzalo that I did not feel good, if he would drive. I started going around the front of the car. I then heard gunshots; everybody took off running…”
“I saw that a man was shooting from the front of the house.”
See Exhibit F (pdf, 3 pages): “Valentin told Noe to stop because a friend of his lived there. Noe did stop and Valentin got off the car and walked up to the front door. Shortly after this happened, we heard several gunshots and saw Valentin running from the house.”
See Exhibit G (pdf, 1 page): These two statements make me the sole initiator of the offense. They both suggest that whatever I did at the front of the house, caused the home-owner to come out shooting. However, Lopez and Sotelo both claim that Detective Buenrostro threatened them into signing the fabricated statements.
See Exhibit H (pdf, 4 pages): A hand-writing expert has made the conclusion that Sotelo’s statement is in Detective Buenrostro hand writing.
Furthermore, the victim in this case and co-defendant Gonzalo Vallejo made corroborating statements. Those statements by the victim and Vallejo show that Lopez and Sotelo’s statements were fabricated.
Further corroborating are Lopez’s and Sotelo’s claims that Buenrostro threatened them into signing the fabricated statements against me.
See Exhibit I (pdf, 1 page): “When we got to the house that we got caught at, I asked why we were there. Lauro told me that we were there to ask for a friend of his. Told me to go knock on the front door and ask for Steve. I knocked and no one answered. Everybody got off and I stayed at the front passenger.”
“Suddenly everybody started running to the car. A man from inside the house came out and started shooting at the car.”
See Exhibit J (pdf, 1 page): “The owner told police that one person had gone to the front door, and rang, nobody answered. He then went and secured his child in a back room. When he returned, he noticed that several suspects came out the car, came to the front door and started kicking the front door. He got his gun, yelled at the kids. The people started running to their car. He went outside and discharged his gun into the air.”
The victim’s and Gonzalo’s statements both corroborate one another, but they also show, Lopez’s and Sotelo’s statements are false and were fabricated. Supporting Lopez’s and Sotelo’s claims is that Detective Buenrostro threatened them to sign the false and fabricated statements.
See Exhibits K (pdf, 1 page) and L (pdf, 5 pages): The attempted burglary case; got me a ten year prison sentence. But, while sitting in prison, I was contacted by attorney Richard B. Gould. Gould had been appointed to represent me on appeal. It had already surfaced that Buenrostro had threatened Lopez and Sotelo. According to Gould, I had a good chance of winning the case on direct appeal. My chances were good, but there was no guarantee and it would take a year to a year and a half, before the appeals court rendered a decision. However, I could be home in days. According to Gould, all I had to do was dismiss my appeal and the ten year prison sentence would be suspended and I would get probation. It was the district attorney and the judge who were offering the deal. At the time, Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department was going through a corruption scandal. Nobody wanted detective Buenrostro’s misconduct to surface. Reluctantly, I accepted the deal and days later I was released on probation after dismissing my appeal.
See Exhibit M (pdf, 1 page): I am sure Buenrostro got in some kind of trouble, but probably nothing official. Because just ten months after dismissing my appeal, I was charged with capital murder and Buenrostro was in the middle of the false charges. When I asked him for a polygraph test, he just laughed and told me:
“None of that will be necessary, because I don’t care if you didn’t do it. I don’t care if you are innocent. I am going to take you down. I am going to make sure this case sticks and you fry for it. I know TCB did this and everybody knows you TCB. You and TCB have caused me and this community enough headaches. Besides, as long as we get a TCB for this, we did our job. I am going to take you down. You and your father messed with the wrong person. I want to see who your father goes crying to this time.”
The day after my arrest, I told attorney Richard B. Gould about it and he documented what I told him. For the next, me and my father repeatedly told Gould that Detective Buenrostro was framing me. When I would bring up my claim of a frame-up, Gould would get upset. He would always tell me that nobody was going to believe I was being framed by the police. It is my position that had Gould investigated my case and the previous cases involving Buenrostro, he would have been able to show the jury I was being framed.
My defense at trial were my alibi witnesses. Mr. & Mrs. Acosta and their daughter Sabrina Molina testified that I was at their home from 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM. The Acostas were my parents’ neighbors. Remember, the crime occurred between 10:45 and 10:55 PM.
State witness Beatrice Trevino placed me getting in her nephew’s car, carrying a weapon. Yvonne Gonzlalez and Raul Guerrero placed me at Rick’s Quick Stop, shooting a weapon. Both groups of witnesses cannot be right, one group is lying. It is my claim that the three state witnesses were manipulated into identifying me by Detective Joesph Buenrostro. All three witnesses only identified me after being re-interviewed by him. With Buenrostro’s prior misconduct, the identifications alone appear suspicious.
On December 15, 1995, I was seen by witnesses attending a party at the house of Juan Trevino in Lopezville. According to witnesses, the Trevino’s house was a hangout for members of a gang known as the Tri-City-Bombers (TCB). When a blue truck drove by the house and “burned rubber” four individuals, including myself, jumped into Juan Trevino’s car to find the blue truck. Yvonne Gonzalez, Missial Ramirez and Raul Gutierrez were at a convenience store (Rick’s Quick Stop) using the payphone. Upon arriving at the store, four individuals, including myself, were seen exiting the car with weapons. The four proceeded to fire eighteen rounds into Raul Gutierrez’s truck. Ramirez and Gutierrez died from gunshot wounds, and Gonzalez was wounded in the leg.
According to state witness Beatrice Trevino, she saw Cat get in her nephew’s car carrying an assault rifle. Minutes after her nephew’s car had left, she heard gunshots. Minutes after the gunshots, her nephew returned in his car alone. Trevino went on to say that she had worked at PSJA High School as a security guard, that it was where she knew me from, and that I was the person she identified as Cat. This was the essence of Trevino’s testimony against me.
At trial, Trevino also revealed that before she gave her statement where she identified me as Cat, she had originally identified Cat as Catarino Herrera. However, she abandoned her identification of Catarino Herrera being Cat after Detective Buenrostro showed her my picture and asked her “Do you recognize Valentin?” Only then did Trevino identify me as Cat. According to Trevino, way before she testified, she told the lead prosecutor that she felt she had confused me for my best friend “Catarino Herrera.” But the prosecutor wanted her to identify me. Thus, the prosecutor told Trevino that she was not making a mistake because another witness had also identified me. According to the prosecutor, “there was no possible way two witnesses could be making the same mistake.” It was not till after trial, that Trevino recanted her trial testimony and admitted to having confused me for Catarino Herrera. Plus, the jury never heard that I was never called “Cat”, my trial attorney never investigated or secured the testimony of staff or/and students from PSJA High School, that knew my nickname was never Cat. (See Exhibits N, O, P, Q, R, S and T.) They allowed a known mistaken identification to stand uncorrected and unchallenged.
According to state witness Yvonne Gonzalez, she identified my eyes five days after the shooting from a photo line-up that consisted of six pairs of eyes. Gonzalez claimed that she had never seen me before, but that on the night in question, I was wearing a bandana and beanie covering my face. Therefore, she was only able to see my eyes. Gonzalez told the jury, that she was a hundred percent positive about my eyes.
The jury never heard that all of Gonzalez’s testimony concerning what actually occurred that night, is shown to be false and fabricated according to the physical evidence, ballistic-related evidence and eye-witness Dolores Martinez.
See Exhibit U (pdf, 13 pages): In Exhibit U, the evidence shows Gonzalez’s entire testimony is false and was fabricated. More disturbing is that this same evidence shows that the prosecution knew they were presenting false testimony. At trial, my attorney never consulted and secured the testimony of a ballistic expert.
According to state witness Raul Guerrero, he saw me at Rick’s Quick Stop shooting with an automatic weapon. Guerrero told the jury he saw my face clearly, that he was sitting in a car with Mando and an unknown friend, when he witnessed the shooting.
However, on the night of the shooting, Guerrero told police he did not recognize any of the shooters. Five days later, after being re-interviewed by Detective Buenrostro, Guerrero allegedly identified my picture from a photo line-up, shown to him by Buenrostro. Guerrero had known me since second grade. We attended the same elementary school, middle school and high school. We had even been friends in grade school. He did not identify me that night because I was not involved. I was not there. On the night of the crime, he alleged that the weapon he saw was a shotgun. After Buenrostro’s second interview, the weapon changed to a rifle. At trial, it became an assault rifle. By the second interview, Buenrostro knew there was no evidence any kind of shotgun was used. The night of the shooting, Guerrero told police he was with Freddy and Juan. At trial he claimed that he was with Mando and an unknown friend. After his second inteview by Buenrostro, Guerrero allegedly identified my picture and went on to state that my face was partially covered with my shirt collar. But at trial, he claimed that he saw my face clearly. Upon the second interview, Detective Buenrostro already had Yvonne Gonzalez alleging my face was covered.
It is very interesting if not suspicious, that all three state witnesses “only” identified me after being re-interviewed by Detective Buenrostro. Thus, if state witness Beatrice Trevino recanted her testimony, and the ballistic-related evidence along with eye-witness Dolores Martinez show the testimonies of Yvonne Gonzalez and Raul Guerrero were false and fabricated, does it not show that Detective Buenrostro’s work needs to be looked into?
What all three eyewitnesses have in common is that they “only” identified me after being re-interviewed by Detective Buenrostro. Reconsider the past, Detective Buenrostro’s and my father’s conflict. Buenrostro falsely and maliciously labeling me as a snitch, the complaint made against him with his supervisor, Buenrostro threatening Lopez and Sotelo to sign the false and fabricated statements against me, and then Buenrostro’s threat, telling me he did not care if I was innocent, that he was going to make the case stick, and make sure I went down. When all the pieces are put together, one can come to the conclusion that a police frame-up resulted in a wrongful conviction.
In 2000, I hired private investigator Roel Zamora. Zamora was conducting a diligent investigation. In part his investigation has found a “botched” investigation, personal conflicts between my trial judge and myself, and that the prosecutor pressured a witness. Even more significant, Zamora’s investigation has caused him to handle his investigation with great caution. Why would Zamora have to be cautious? More important, why would anybody find it necessary to monitor Zamora’s investigation in my case? See Exhibits V, W and X:
After Exhibit V, I never heard from Zamora again. He avoided my family, never returned my files or money, just abandoned the case. Years later, Zamora told my father that District Attorney Rene Guerra had threatened him off my case. That if he continued investigating my case, he would never get work from Hidalgo County D.A.’s Office.
The monitoring of Zamora’s investigation is an admission of guilt. They did not want the truth to come out. They knew they had a wrongful conviction on their hands. They just could not allow it to surface. A frame-up in a capital murder case, where the State sought a death sentence. They knew I had no lawyer. They knew I came from a poor family, that I had a very limited education, a criminal record, and that I was a known gang member. The chance of me succeeding was in their favor. They just did not know that a wise lady had told me, “Son, don’t you ever give up fighting because one thing is for sure: lies will never out last the truth.”
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Valentin Moreno needs a post-conviction attorney, a pathologist, a forensic ballistics expert, as well as eyewitness Dolores Martinez, who allegedly was in Mexico and could not be located for his trial.
Exhibit A (pdf, 3 pages)
Valentin Moreno Sr.’s affidavit
November 17, 2008
Exhibit B (pdf, 1 page)
Homero Garza Jr.’s affidavit
January 19, 2009
Exhibit C (pdf, 1 page)
Oscar Salinas’ affidavit
January 14, 2009
Exhibit D (pdf, 1 page)
Jennifer Renee Pedroza’s (Valentin’s sister) affidavit
April 5, 2011
Exhibit E (pdf, 3 pages)
Noe Lopez’s voluntary statement
January 5, 1994
Exhibit F (pdf, 3 pages)
Severo Sotelo’s voluntary statement
January 5, 1994
Exhibit G (pdf, 1 page)
Noe Lopez’s affidavit
February 26, 2011
Exhibit H (pdf, 4 pages)
Susan E. Abbey, DCE’s affidavit (Document Examiner)
April 29, 2011
Exhibit I (pdf, 1 page)
Gonzalo Vallejo Jr.’s affidavit
January 5, 1994
Exhibit J (pdf, 1 page)
Investigator Rene Valdez’s report
January 24, 1994
Exhibit K (pdf, 1 page)
Hidalgo County (TX) District Clerk’s letter to Attorney Richard B. Gould
March 23, 1995
Exhibit L (pdf, 5 pages)
Valentin Moreno Jr.’s Criminal Docket
February 3, 1994
Exhibit M (pdf, 1 page)
Valentin Moreno Jr.’s affidavit
August 5, 2008
Exhibit N (pdf, 1 page)
Criselda Salina’s affidavit
January 30, 2002
Exhibit O (pdf, 1 page)
James J. Torline’s affidavit (Assistant Principal at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High School)
May 8, 2006
Exhibit P (pdf, 1 page)
Rafael Alaniz Jr.’s affidavit
April 28, 2006
Exhibit Q (pdf, 1 page)
Mayra Hernandez’s and Nancy Orozco’s affidavit
June 14, 2006
Exhibit R (pdf, 1 page)
Myrna Irene Leyva’s affidavit
October 7, 2007
Exhibit S (pdf, 1 page)
Leticia Gonzalez-Aleman’s affidavit
July 28, 2005
Exhibit T (pdf, 1 page)
Brenda Rios Palacios’ affidavit
March 30, 2006
Exhibit U (pdf, 13 pages)
Report on Ballistic Related Evidence
Exhibit V (pdf, 1 page)
Roel Rolando Zamora’s letter to Amador Trevino
September 26, 2000
Exhibit W (pdf, 2 pages)
Roel Rolando Zamora’s Investigative Report
Exhibit X (pdf, 1 page)
Valentin Moreno Sr.’s affidavit
February 22, 2011
Court of Appeals of Texas,Corpus Christi.
Valentin MORENO, Jr., Appellant, v. The STATE of Texas, Appellee.
Nos. 13-97-335-CR, 13-97-336-CR.
Decided: August 31, 1999
Court of Appeals of Texas,Corpus Christi.
Catarino HERRERA, Appellant, v. The STATE of Texas, Appellee.
Decided: July 31, 1997