JOSE LUIS IBARRA–CARDOSO, Appellant v. THE STATE OF TEXAS, Appellee
Opinion By Justice Morris
A jury convicted Jose Luis Ibarra Cardoso of murder. On appeal, he complains the trial court erred in admitting a hearsay statement into evidence. Concluding appellant's issue is without merit, we affirm the trial court's judgment. The background of the case and the evidence adduced at trial are well known to the parties, and therefore we limit recitation of the facts. We issue this memorandum opinion pursuant to Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 47.4 because the law to be applied in the case is well settled.
At trial, appellant admitted he had murdered Isaias Lopez, the former husband of the woman with whom he was living. He claimed, however, that he had acted in self-defense while stabbing Lopez with a knife.1 Appellant and Lopez's former wife both testified that Lopez had repeatedly threatened appellant with violence. Appellant explained that when Lopez attacked him inside appellant's apartment, Vicente Arredondo, a man whom appellant claimed he had met for the first time that night, defended appellant by beating Lopez severely with a broom. Afterward, appellant asserted, Lopez came after him with a knife, so he stabbed him several times as they wrestled on the apartment floor. Appellant assumed that Arredondo left the apartment after he beat Lopez with the broom. He explained that he “didn't notice” Arredondo leaving and did not see him while he and Lopez were wrestling with the knife. He admitted that during the fighting Lopez called out for help in Spanish, but he maintained that Lopez made the cries while Arredondo was beating him with the broom.
In a single issue on appeal, appellant complains that the trial court erred when it permitted one of appellant's former neighbors to testify about what Arredondo told him as he left the crime scene. Over appellant's hearsay objection, the neighbor testified that when he asked Arredondo what was going on, Arredondo replied that the neighbor “better call the police because he already killed him.” Even if the trial court erred in admitting the statement into evidence, appellant was not harmed by it. Appellant contends the statement attacked his defense and shifted the blame for Lopez's death to appellant. But appellant took responsibility for the death from the beginning of trial. Indeed, he had to admit to committing the murder before claiming self-defense as a justification for the offense. He was convicted by the jury of murder either as the principal actor or as a party to the offense. Although the statement may not have completely explained the extent of Arredondo's involvement or coincided with when appellant suspected that Arredondo left the scene, the fact that Arredondo may have uttered it does not conflict with appellant's version of events. Accordingly, any error in admitting the statement was harmless. See Tex.R.App. P. 44.2(b). We resolve appellant's sole issue against him.
We affirm the trial court's judgment.
FN1. Appellant's testimony included this exchange:Q. [Defense counsel] And you do admit that you intentionally or knowingly caused the death of ․ Mr. Lopez; is that right?A. [Appellant] I defend myself. I tried to defend myself.Q. And you committed an act that was clearly dangerous to human life by cutting him with the knife; is that right?A. Yes, that's right.Q. But you're telling this jury that you did this in self-defense; is that right?A. Yes, that's right.. FN1. Appellant's testimony included this exchange:Q. [Defense counsel] And you do admit that you intentionally or knowingly caused the death of ․ Mr. Lopez; is that right?A. [Appellant] I defend myself. I tried to defend myself.Q. And you committed an act that was clearly dangerous to human life by cutting him with the knife; is that right?A. Yes, that's right.Q. But you're telling this jury that you did this in self-defense; is that right?A. Yes, that's right.
JOSEPH B. MORRIS JUSTICE