Two members of the Perry Police Department who worked on the Oct. 29 murder case took the stand on the fourth day of the criminal trial involving the State of Iowa against Carlos Hernandez-Ventura. Hernandez-Ventura has been accused of three counts of murder in the first degree for the deaths of Lourdes Flor De Leake, 34, Melany Elizabeth Barraza, 14, and Juan Jimenez, 78.
Dispatcher and Translator for the Perry Police Department, Ana Jimenez, took the stand first. Jimenez acted as a translator for both Detective Sgt. Jerome Hill and Iowa DCI Special Agent, Don Schnitker, upon their interview with Hernandez-Ventura at the Dallas County Jail in Adel.
Jimenz’ role was to translate questions from English to Spanish, followed by Hernandez-Ventura’s answers from Spanish to English.
Hernandez-Ventura offered up information involving the crime, Ana Jimenz described.
“He said he killed Lourdes –he refered to Mr. Jimenez by ‘the older man’ – and Melany,” Ana Jimenz said.
Hernandez-Ventura revealed more details regarding the position of the victims before they were struck.
“She was looking at herself in the mirror when he hit her,” Ana Jimenz said. “He (Juan) was in the kitchen and I believe he was sitting – I don’t remember exactly.”
Dallas County Attorney Sean Wieser asked Ana Jimenez what Hernandez-Ventura said about Melany’s attack.
“She was in the restroom when the first two happened, and when she came out he struck her,” Ana Jimenez said.
During the time of the initial attacks, loud music was playing throughout the house while Melany was in the shower.
Ana Jimenz revealed what Hernandez-Ventura relayed to her regarding his departure of the Perry residence.
“He said that he went to the restroom and washed his hands, got the keys, and grabbed his shoes and got some clothes,” Jimenez said. “Then left.”
Detective Sgt. Jerome Hill took the stand following Jimenez. Hill arrived on the scene around 9 p.m. during the night of Oct. 29.
During his involvement of the case, he interviewed Hernandez, as well as Daniel Leake.
Dallas County Attorney Wieser asked Hill of his observations of the Perry residence.
“There was a blood pool around the body, there was blood everywhere,” Hill said. “There was droplets leading into the next area of the house through the living room area.”
According to Hill, it appeared that someone had washed their hands in the bathroom.
Later, Hernandez-Ventura told the law enforcement that he did use a machete during the crime, and found the weapon on the porch area of the residence.
“He said during the interview that he struck them until they were dead,” Hill said.
Hill also interviewed Daniel Leake.
During the interview with Daniel Leake, Hill said that Leake remained calm, but seemed concerned about the death of Lourdes.
Hill was not able to find any in-house records regarding drug charges associated with Daniel Leake.
During cross-examination, Defense Attorney Michael Adams questioned Hill’s interview with Leake.
”He (Hernandez-Ventura) came to you that he was afraid of Daniel Leake, and he said that Mr. Leake had threatened to kill Mr. Hernandez, is that right?” Defense Attorney Adams asked.
Hill said yes.
“He also threatened Mr. Hernandez’ family in Virgnia, unless Carlos Hernandez killed these three people,” Defense Attorney Adams said.
Defense Attorney Adams brought to attention that Daniel and Lourdes Leake recently separated months prior.
“Mr. Hernandez had told you that he talked to Daniel Leake on the 28, correct?” Adams asked. “Did you ask Mr. Leake if he talked to Carlos on the 28?”
Hill did not recall.
During a re-direct by Wieser, Hernandez-Ventura’s family safety was brought to attention.
Hill said that Hernandez-Ventura never mentioned specific family members in Virgnia, but he kept insisting “family” as a whole.
“Did he request that law enforcement contact his family members?” Wieser asked.
Hill said no.
“Did Mr. Hernandez request at any family members be in protective custody?” Wieser asked.
Hill said no.
Later, Wieser asked if Hernandez-Ventura admitted to having time to consider the killings.
“He did have some time to think after he spoke with Daniel,” Hill said.