Death penalty sought against Alamo man accused of fatal McAllen Motel 6 stabbing

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Carlos Antonio Cardenas

Prosecutors have announced that they will seek the death penalty against a 27-year-old Alamo man accused of a fatal stabbing at a McAllen Motel 6 more than a year ago that left two men dead should he be convicted.

They notified Carlos Antonio Cardenas and his attorney, O. Rene Flores, on March 25, court records show.

Cardenas is accused of killing 42-year-old San Juan resident Luis Eduardo Garza and 45-year-old Virginia resident Keith Henry Cole on March 18, 2023.

The notice said prosecutors are seeking the death penalty on a count of capital murder of multiple persons. Cardenas is also charged with attempted murder.

The stabbing happened at around 6:30 a.m. that day at the hotel on 700 W. Expressway 83 where responding police found two bodies before encountering Cardenas, who was covered in blood and holding a knife.

An officer said in an affidavit that he was soaked in blood “from his face to his shoes” outside the hotel front office where he was poking the window with a black foldable knife trying to get inside.

The officer pointed a gun at Cardenas and told him to drop the knife before arresting him.

As he was placed in handcuffs, Cardenas spoke incoherently, according to the affidavit, which said he refused to identify himself and claimed an unknown “they” would hear it.

Police found Garza on the ground in the southeast parking lot and Cole was found on a second floor hallway near a stairwell to the pool.

Both men had multiple stab wounds.

Investigators also said the stabbings were caught on surveillance video, which showed Cardenas and an unidentified man walk out of hotel room 220 at around 4:35 a.m. The other man drove away in a white car and left Cardenas at the hotel.

As Cardenas walked back to the hotel room, he saw Cole walking with a backpack on the second floor hallway. They were seen talking before Cole tried to walk away, which is when Cardenas attacked him, according to the affidavit.

The Motel 6 in McAllen that was the scene of a March 18, 2023 double homicide is seen on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in McAllen. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

That document said Cardenas then gave the backpack to someone in a black car parked at the east side parking lot that had arrived at 4:35 a.m., according to the affidavit, which said that’s when Cardenas saw Garza by another vehicle, which is when he attacked the man.

At some point, Garza slipped and fell and Cardenas stabbed him several times before grabbing his bag and giving it to the driver of the black vehicle, according to the affidavit.

Investigators say Cardenas then went to the hotel’s front office and began speaking with the front desk attendant through a locked glass partition.

“Something happened, somebody got killed,” Cardenas told the attendant, the affidavit stated.

He also claimed someone was trying to kill him.

Authorities say in the affidavit that Cardenas told the attendant that if police were called that “they are going to kill you and they are going to kill all os us.”

He then began kicking the front desk glass door to get in, which is when the attendant called 9-1-1 and escaped through another exit.

Another man who was in the lobby also began trying to walk away when investigators said in the affidavit that he followed him, grabbed him and threatened him.

That man told investigators that Cardenas wanted him to take the knife, but he refused and was let go.

After his arrest, Cardenas saw the man who had fled and yelled out, “I saved you. I saved you.”

That affidavit said that police suspect Cardenas was under the influence of some unknown drug and it also noted a glass pipe was found in his pocket.

Cardenas, who was scheduled for a court hearing Wednesday, remains held in the Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center on a total of $906,000 in bonds.

A motion has also been filed to examine whether he is competent to stand trial, but the competency report is sealed.