Diana Lumbrera signed letter envelope set
Diana Lumbrera signed letter envelope set
A Texas native, Diana Lumbrera was an adolescent when she married Lionel Garza in 1974. Their marriage was troubled almost from the start, but the quarreling Garzas made up frequently enough to produce three children in as many years. Daughter Melissa was born in 1975, Joanna in 1976, and their first son, Jose Lionel, in 1977. Unfortunately, while Diana was adept at bearing children, she had no luck at keeping them alive.
Joanna was the first to die, barely three months old when Diana brought her lifeless body to the community hospital in Bovina, Texas. According to Diana, the baby had experienced convulsions before she suddenly stopped breathing, and a pathologists report blamed Joanna’s death on strangulation due to asphyxiation due to convulsive disorder. Under the circumstances, no autopsy was required. Jose was two months old when Diana brought him into the Bovina emergency room, on February 10, 1978. The baby had suddenly gone into convulsions and stopped breathing, she told physicians, but he was still alive when they reached the hospital. Resuscitation was successful, but doctors could find no apparent cause for the convulsions, and they sent Jose off to Lubbock’s pediatric intensive care unit for observation. The baby’s condition was listed as stable by February 13, when a 1:00 A.M. alarm brought a nurse to his room, in time to see Diana retreating from the crib. Jose seemed well enough that afternoon, when Diana phoned her husband to tell him the infant was dying. Her prophecy came true shortly after 6:30 P.M., when a nurse saw Diana run from the baby’s room in tears; investigating, she found Jose cyanotic, and thirty minutes of CPR failed to revive him. Less than eight months later, on October 2, Diana walked into the Bovina emergency room with daughter Melissa in her arms. The three-year-old was dead on arrival, Diana relating the familiar tale of unexplained convulsions followed by rapid death. An Amarillo pathologist's report ascribed Melissa’s death to asphyxia due to aspiration of stomach contents, and the case was closed.
Kansas authorities were first off the mark with a murder indictment, in Jose Antonio’s death. In July 1990, a Palmer County, Texas, grand jury indicted Diana for first-degree murder in the cases of Joanna, Melinda, and Melissa. Lubbock County weighed in with charges stemming from Jose Lionel’s death, and Castro County indicted Diana for Ericka Aleman’s slaying on September 10.
Diana’s murder trial in Garden City opened two weeks later, with any reference to the Texas killings barred. Diana’s employer and an officer from her credit union were called to describe how she used false tales of misfortune--including a bout with leukemia for Jose and her own father’s death in a nonexistent car wreck--to secure $850 in sympathy loans from the credit union. Prosecutors also noted that Jose Antonio was insured for $5,000 when he died, and Dr. Eva Vachel blamed the child’s death on deliberate suffocation. Dr. William Eckert appeared for the defense, blaming Jose’s death on a massive viral infection. According to Eckert, Jose’s heart, lungs, and liver were normal, revealing no evidence of murder. Prosecutors countered by noting that Eckert had never examined said organs, since they were removed during autopsy and never replaced in the corpse. Convicted of murder after less than an hour of deliberation, Diana was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum of fifteen years before the possibility parole.
A few weeks later, Texas Rangers flew Diana back to Palmer County, where she faced three counts of murder, with a possible death sentence under a new serial-murder statute. In the interest of self-preservation, Diana pled guilty to Melissa’s murder, while charges were dropped in the cases of Melinda and Joanna. Lubbock County was next in line, handing down a third life sentence after Diana pled no contest--with no technical admission of guilt --to her first son’s death. Castro County, in turn, waived prosecution on outstanding charges to save an estimated $50,000 in court costs. By June 1991, Diana was back in Kansas, officially beginning to serve her time.
If Diana is ever let out of Kansas prison, she will immediately be extradited to Texas for two counts of murder she plead guilty to down there.
The letter and envelope are both handwritten. The letter is signed, Diana.