Trial begins in murder-for-hire of Dallas dentist

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The mother of a murdered Dallas dentist brought the jury to tears with her testimony.

Prosecutors say the victim, Kendra Hatcher, was killed in a murder-for-hire plot orchestrated by her boyfriend's ex.

Hatcher's mother and the boyfriend testified on Monday after prosecutors laid out how the plot was schemed.

The trial is actually for the accused gunman, Kristopher Love, who is charged with capital murder. But much of the case is being built around Brenda Delgado, the ex-girlfriend and accused mastermind.

During opening statements in the capital murder trial for Love, prosecutor Kevin Brooks told jurors that Delgado was the mastermind behind the murder of Pediatric Dentist Dr. Kendra Hatcher in September 2015. Love was the triggerman.

Brooks said Delgado hired Love and Crystal Cortes to ambush Hatcher in the garage of her uptown apartment because Hatcher was dating Delgado’s ex-boyfriend, Dr. Ricardo Paniagua.

“During this time, Brenda is also stalking him online,” Brooks said. “She’s gotten access to his Facebook account. She’s hacked into his cell phone, and she’s following him everywhere he goes.”

Prosecutors say it was through the cyberstalking that Delgado found out how close Paniagua and Hatcher had become.

“Brenda’s able to tell that this thing is moving fast, and Brenda is extremely upset,” Brooks said. “She, very quickly, comes to the decision that she wants Kendra Hatcher killed because she wants Dr. Paniagua to herself.”

Paniagua testified about his relationships with both Hatcher and Delgado. He described what seemed like chance encounters with Delgado after their breakup that, in hindsight to him now, seem more sinister.

Prosecutors say Delgado approached several people about the murder plot. After Love and Cortez agreed to it, all three began following Hatcher.

“Crystal will tell you that it was her idea for them every single day, for two weeks prior to her death, they followed Kendra Hatcher. Every single day,” Brooks said.

The most emotional testimony came from Hatcher’s mother, Bonnie Jameson. She told jurors Hatcher loved working with underprivileged children even though she did not have kids of her own.

“She just loved working with the kids, and the kids loved her,” Jameson said.

The testimony brought several jurors to tears, but Love sat emotionless.

Just a week before her daughter’s murder, Jameson says her daughter was planning to bring Paniagua to Illinois to meet the entire family.

“I could just tell that Kendra was head over heels with Ricky, as we call him,” Jameson said.

Prosecutors say the gun used to murder Hatcher was found hidden in Love’s car. Crime scene technicians testified about additional evidence recovered from the scene, but prosecutors have not yet linked that back to Love.

If convicted of the murder, Love faces the death penalty.

Cortez is expected to testify possibly as soon as Tuesday. She’s with capital murder too, but does not face the death penalty.

Delgado does not face the death penalty, either. She fled to Mexico. As part of her extradition back to the U.S., the government agreed not to pursue capital punishment.