DALLAS - A suspect in a Dallas dentist’s murder-for-hire case gave details in court about planning and carrying out the crime.
Pediatric dentist Kendra Hatcher was fatally shot in her Uptown Dallas parking garage in 2015. Prosecutors said she was the victim of the murder-for-hire plot orchestrated by Brenda Delgado, who was her new boyfriend’s ex.
Delgado allegedly hired Kristopher Love to be the gunman. He is now on trial for capital murder.
In court Tuesday, the first two witnesses set the scene as to how the well-planned murder plot quickly began to unravel with the media coverage of the suspected vehicle. The most compelling testimony came from Crystal Cortes.
Delgado also allegedly hired Cortes as the getaway driver. Cortes recently agreed to a plea deal and is expected to be sentenced to 35 years in prison in exchange for her testimony against Love and Delgado.
She admitted to being an integral part of the planning process. She told jurors she helped find the murder weapon and took turns following Hatcher home from work for two weeks to figure out her daily routine.
"She hated her. She didn’t want anything to do with her,” Cortes said. “She knew where she lived. She wanted to do away with Kendra.”
Cortes said she, Delgado and Love actually came up with several different plans for killing Hatcher. In the end, they settled on a plan to make it look like a robbery gone bad. They met more than a dozen times to plan Hatcher’s murder.
“One of the plans was to inject her with a needle. Another plan was to shoot her directly and another plan was to kidnap her,” she said. “He pretty much said it would be easier to kill her with the gun.”
Cortes said Delgado agreed to pay her $500 to be the getaway driver. She said Delgado promised to pay Love with drugs and cash. On the day of the murder, Love was hiding in the back of the Jeep that Cortes drove into Hatcher’s parking garage.
“He exits the vehicle and then I hear Kendra scream, ‘Help, help. Help me!’ And then I heard the shot fired,” Cortes said. “And I back up out of the parking space that I was in, and he enters the vehicle.”
Cortes appeared emotionless as she described driving past Hatcher’s body on the way out of the garage. Prosecutor showed a selfie Cortes took with Delgado after the murder and another picture of her holding $500 in a heart shape.
“That was my payment for completing the task of driving Kristopher Love to kill Kendra Hatcher,” Cortes said.
During cross-examination, Love’s defense attorney, Kristopher Johnson, questioned Cortes about the fact that she has changed her story several times since her original interview with police.
“And in fact, you’ve never told the same story twice to anybody, have you?” Johnson asked.
“No,” she replied.
Johnson hammered away at Cortes’ credibility saying she repeatedly lied to investigators in recorded interviews. Johnson told Cortes that Love was going to testify against her saying he only participated because he thought it was a just a robbery.
Cortes admitted that at one point she told police another man had pulled the trigger. She claimed she decided to start telling the truth after her mother died last November. She also admitted that she thought Love might testify against her and claim that she pulled the trigger.
Cortes has not yet been sentenced. Her plea deal can be revoked if she lies on the stand.
If convicted of murder, Love faces the death penalty.
Delgado is also charged with capital murder but does not face the death penalty. She fled to Mexico. As part of her extradition back to the U.S., the government agreed not to pursue capital punishment.