Dallas

Alleged Getaway Driver Testifies Tuesday in Murder-for-Hire Trial

Cortes, 26, admitted her involvement and told police Brenda Delgado used an iPhone to track Hatcher's location

Kristopher Love, 33, stands accused of being a hired hitman in a murder-for-hire plot against pediatric dentist Kendra Hatcher in September 2015. Brenda Delgado, 36, stalked Hatcher and orchestrated the plot, prosecutors allege.

Crystal Cortes, the alleged getaway driver now charged with capital murder, agreed to testify Tuesday morning against Delgado and Love in exchange for spending 35 years behind bars instead of life.

Cortes, 26, admitted her involvement and told police Brenda Delgado used an iPhone to track Hatcher's location prior to the shooting. She claimed she thought it was all just a robbery and drove Love to Hatcher's apartment that night, NBC 5 reported in 2015.

"She [Delgado] hated her [Hatcher]," said Cortes on the stand.

Cortes admitted to stalking Hatcher for two weeks as she, Delgado and Love planned on how to murder Hatcher.

"One of the plans was to inject her with a needle," she said. "Another plan was to shoot her directly and another plan was to kidnap her."

Cortes then said Love "said it would be easier to kill her with a gun."

Hatcher was later found shot in the head in the apartment parking garage.

Cortes testified Love is the one who carried out the plan with her serving as the getaway driver.

"He exits the vehicle and I hear Kendra yelling: Help! Help! Help," she said.

Cortes said she then heard shots fired and began to drive out of the parking garage.

However, during cross examination Cortes admitted she agreed to plead and testify in this trial after learning that Love's defense will be that he only agreed to a robbery plot and not a murder plot.

Dallas County Sheriff's Department
Brenda Delgado

Love could face the death penalty if he is found guilty. Delgado was captured in Mexico but will not face capital punishment as part of an extradition agreement.

On Monday, much of the trial concentrated on Delgado, rather than Love, as she is a central figure in the case. She will face her own trial at a later date.

Lead prosecutor Kevin Brooks told the jury in his opening statement 'after [Paniagua] broke it off with Brenda [Delgado], she could not let go. You'll see evidence that Brenda started following him."

Paniagua testified that he ended the on-and-off again two-and-a-half-year relationship with Delgado in February of 2015 but remained "platonic friends" with her and would sometimes run into her.

"I would go running at the Katy Trail and sometimes when I was running she would be running the opposite direction," said Paniagua.

Prosecutors contend Delgado began to follow Paniagua and any woman he dated — first one woman, and then Hatcher.

"And Brenda is able to tell that this thing is moving fast, and Brenda is extremely upset," said Brooks. "And Brenda very quickly comes to the decision that she wants Kendra Hatcher killed."

Paniagua was asked if he ever told Delgado about Hatcher, he responded he only told Delgado he was in a relationship and it was going well.

Two people, including a family member of Delgado, took the stand for the state on Monday saying Delgado approached them offering money and a new car if they would attack Hatcher, and possibly Paniagua as well.

"She said she wanted me to hit [Hatcher] with a bat," said Moses Martinez. "And that's when I told her I didn't want to do that, hurt somebody innocent."

Jennifer Escobar also took the stand and told a similar story.

"To follow around Hatcher and basically eliminate her. [Delgado] had so many ways," Escobar said.

Dallas County has not sent anyone to death row since 2013.

The capital murder trial begins Monday for the man suspected in the killing of a Dallas pediatric dentist three years ago.
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