Brenda Delgado Gets Life Without Parole for Dallas Dentist Murder

A Dallas County jury took less than an hour Friday morning to convict Brenda Delgado of Dallas dentist Kendra Hatcher's 2015 murder. Delgado will spend the rest of her life in prison without the possibility of parole.

According to prosecutors, Delgado paid Kristopher Love and Crystal Cortes to kill Hatcher because she was jealous of Hatcher's relationship with Ricardo Paniagua, Delgado's ex-boyfriend.

With help from Cortes, the admitted getaway driver in the case, Love tracked Hatcher for weeks, eventually shooting her in the head as she walked through the parking garage of her Uptown apartment complex on Sept. 2, 2015. Love's defense team argued that he'd merely robbed Hatcher and that Cortes fired the fatal shots.

Soon after Hatcher's death, police began investigating whether Delgado had hired someone to kill the dentist.

Delgado's rage, according to police documents, boiled over when she learned that her ex-boyfriend had taken Hatcher to meet his parents in San Francisco, something he'd not done with Delgado. She lent Cortes a Jeep, police say, and Cortes drove Love to Hatcher's garage.

Cortes agreed last year to testify against Love and Delgado in exchange for a 35-year sentence. Love was convicted of killing Hatcher and sentenced to death in October.

During Delgado's trial, prosecutors said the characterization that Hatcher's murder was the result of a love triangle gone wrong was false, according to reporters in the courtroom.

"The only person in a love triangle is (Delgado) and it's a love triangle she created." — Kevin Brooks

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"In a love triangle, those three individuals generally know each other. That beautiful soul, Kendra Hatcher, she didn't know this lady," Kevin Brooks, the lead prosecutor in the case, said during closing arguments Friday. "The only person in a love triangle is (Delgado), and it's a love triangle she created."

Delgado's defense team attacked Cortes' credibility, telling the jury that she testified against Delgado to save herself from a potential life sentence.

"They didn't give her something for nothing," defense attorney George Milner said. "This is Crystal Cortes' backup plan."

Shortly after the jury reached its verdict, Hatcher's mother addressed Delgado from the witness stand.

“You, Brenda Delgado, have earned your spot, here on this earth behind cold, steel bars for the rest of your miserable, pathetic life,” Bonnie Jameson said. “And if justice could have handed you a death sentence, make no mistake, I would have been there front and center.”

Delgado wasn't eligible for the death penalty because she fled to Mexico before police arrested her and Mexico refused to extradite her to the United States if she faced a death sentence.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young