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Saturday, April 29, 2023

The Brenda Delgado Murder-For-Hire Case

     At quarter to eight on the night of Wednesday, September 2, 2015, 35-year-old dentist Dr. Kendra Hatcher parked her car in the garage of her upscale Dallas, Texas apartment complex. As Dr. Hatcher did so, a man hiding in the back seat of a Jeep Cherokee driven by a woman jumped out of the vehicle and approached her. It was at that moment the assailant shot the dentist one time with a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol, killing the victim on the spot. After stealing two of Dr. Hatcher's purses the shooter climbed back into the Jeep and was driven off by his driver.

     On Friday, September 4, 2015, detectives with the Dallas Police Department arrested 23-year-old Crystal Cortes on suspicion that she had been the person behind the wheel of the Jeep Cherokee. Cortes, during her interrogation, confessed to her role in the robbery-murder. She also identified the shooter as 31-year-old Kristopher Love.

      After a week into the Hatcher murder investigation detectives came to believe that robbery had not been the motive behind the killing. The officers suspected the slaying had been the culmination of a murder-for-hire plot orchestrated by a 33-year-old dental hygiene student at Stanford-Brown College named Brenda Delgado.

     Two months before the murder, Delgado, a Mexican citizen, and her boyfriend, 38-year-old dermatologist Dr. Ricardo Panigua, had broken up following a two-year relationship. After the split Dr. Panigua began dating Dr. Kendra Hatcher. Detectives suspected that Delgado had the dentist murdered out of jealousy and rage.

     When questioned by investigators the murder-for-hire suspect admitted lending Crystal Cortes the Jeep Cherokee and meeting with Cortes and the suspected hit man, Kristopher Love. She met with the murder suspects at a Dallas apartment complex a few days before the killing. Delgado, however, denied being the mastermind behind a plot to have her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend murdered. That, she claimed, had been Love's idea.

     On September 11, 2015, a Dallas County prosecutor charged Crystal Cortes with capital murder. Police officers booked her into the Dallas County Jail under $500,000 bond. Cortes' attorney, George Ashford III, told reporters that his client, before what she believed was just going to be a robbery, had tried to call and warn Dr. Hatcher of the hold-up plot. The lawyer said that after the killing Mr. Love had threatened to kill Cortes' 6-year-old son if she went to the authorities.

     According to Crystal Cortes, Brenda Delgado had promised her and the hit man free prescription drugs if they robbed Dr. Hatcher. Also, Delgado had allegedly paid Cortes $500 to drive Kristopher Love to the robbery scene. Just before Love climbed out of the Jeep in the victim's parking garage, Cortes asked him how much money Delgado had paid him to commit the robbery. Love replied, "That's none of your business."

     On October 3, 2015, Dallas detectives arrested Kristopher Love on suspicion of capital murder. At the time he was taken into custody he was still in possession of the murder weapon. A magistrate set his bail at $2.5 million. In Texas a capital murder conviction can lead to the death penalty.

     About the time Kristopher Love was arrested a Dallas County prosecutor issued an arrest warrant for Brenda Delgado. At that time the murder-for-hire suspect's whereabouts were unknown.

     In speaking to reporters regarding Delgado, Major Max Geron of the Dallas Police Department, said: "Ms. Delgado was involved in the planning and the commission of Kendra Hatcher's murder."

     On April 7, 2016, a spokesperson with the FBI announced that murder-for-hire fugitive Brenda Delgado had been placed on the bureau's "Ten Most Wanted" list. A day later the authorities in Torreon, Mexico took the fugitive into custody.

     In October 2018, a jury sitting in Dallas, Texas found Kristopher Love guilty of murder. The judge sentenced the hitman to death.

    Before Delgado could be extradited back to Texas, the U.S. prosecutor had to agree not to pursue the death penalty against the suspect. According to the Mexican authorities in charge of the case, it could take up to a year to complete the extradition process.

     On June 7, 2019, a jury in Dallas, Texas, after deliberating only twenty minutes, found Brenda Delgado guilty of the plot to murder Dr. Kendra Hatcher. The judge sentenced her to life in prison.


  1. HA! Grand timing, sir! They just caught her.... http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/suspected-contract-killing-plotter-captured-mexico-article-1.2594113

  2. She just got detained in Mexico! That is just three days after being put on the F.B.I.'s 10 Most Wanted List. Wow. I know that Mexico doesn't extradite to countries that have the death penalty and she is up for capital murder so there must be some negotiating going on about that. As usual my husband and I are enjoying our Saturday coffee while discussing your post. This case is very interesting.

  3. Brenda Delgado has been captured in Mexico and is being returned to the U.S. to face charges.