Officer Testifies About Night Carlos Cardenas Was Arrested
The man accused of killing his teenage sister-in-law back in January appeared in Orleans County Court on Thursday. A judge is determining whether or not statements Carlos Cardenas made to law enforcement a month after her murder will be admissible during his trial. YNN's Kate McGowan joins us from the courthouse with more.
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ALBION, N.Y. — A witness took the stand in the pre-trial hearing, offering detailed information about the night Carlos Cardenas was arrested. That was one month after the murder of 15-year-old Katherine Sanchez.
The night Cardenas was arrested; he was charged with driving while intoxicated. A short time after his initial arrest, Cardenas was charged with second degree murder in the rape and death of Sanchez.
Police said Cardenas told them he wanted to end a sexual relationship between the two, but Sanchez threatened to tell her sister, Cardenas' wife.
That's when he told police he put his arm around her neck to stop her. Sanchez died, and Cardenas is accused of burying her body in a shallow grave at an apple orchard.
Thursday, Officer Karol Hughes of the Holley Police Department testified about the night he arrested Cardenas on February 13th.
"We want the court to have the details it needs to make a determination as to whether it's appropriate that the statement be made admissible at the time of trial,” said Joseph Cardone, the Orleans County District Attorney. “In these hearings, we will explore all the facts that led up to the statements that were made by the defendant."
Hughes said he pulled Cardenas' car over and found him driving drunk, with two other passengers in the car, including Cardenas' wife. Hughes took Cardenas into custody, and during this time, Hughes said Cardenas pleaded with him not to call Border Patrol and immigration. Hughes did however, and Border Patrol became involved in his arrest.
"The circumstances under which the defendant made the statement to law enforcement – that's what the testimony was about today,” said Cardone.
Cardone offered Cardenas a plea deal back in May, reducing his time behind bars from 25 years to life, to 20 years to life.
"After 20 years, he's eligible to go before the parole board, but this does not mean he gets released after 20 years,” said Cardone.
Public defender Sandy Church did not accept the plea deal for Cardenas on Thursday. Once the pre trial hearings are complete, the district attorney's office says the plea offer will no longer be on the table.
Cardone says Sanchez's family is hopeful Cardenas will be put behind bars for the maximum sentence.
"Their loved one has been brutally murdered. They want justice, and that's what we are here to do,” said Cardone.
More witnesses will take the stand July 8.