Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Charges against Yogurt Shop defendants dismissed

One of the state's more notorious examples of apparent false confessions was finally resolved this afternoon when charges against defendants in Austin's Yogurt Shop murders were dismissed. This decision was long overdue, IMO. It was definitely past time to fish or cut bait on this one.

The conviction had already been overturned by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which ruled (following SCOTUS in Crawford) that recanted confessions by co-defendants couldn't be put on as evidence without providing a chance for cross-examination. But the big break for defendants came when DNA evidence was analyzed post-conviction pointing the finger at an unknown suspect and contradicting both the recanted confessions and the prosecution's theory of the case. More than 50 other people also confessed (all of them falsely, police believe) to the high-profile 1991 crime that took the lives of four teenage girls. See initial AP coverage of the dismissal.

An expert brought in by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals' Criminal Justice Integrity Unit last year said Michael Scott's confession in the Yogurt Shop case showed classic signs of being "persuaded" by interrogators, while most of the other false confessions in the case were "voluntary," i.e., given by people who saw the case on the news and simply wanted attention (or whatever motivates such inexplicable behavior).


Anonymous said...

I love that our DA's office will not admit their mistake, and promise to retry when more evidence is available.

Anonymous said...

Based on the statements and actions of the DA's office, one wonders how hard they're trying to match the DNA.

It appears to me that they're specifically limiting their search to people who could've contaminated the evidence and people with a connection to the defendants.

I believe (but I don't know for a fact) that the DA's office is limiting their search in an effort to prop up their case against the two accused. If the DA investigates potential suspects with no connection to the defendants, they create an opportunity for jurors to wonder why other potential suspects were investigated and discarded (especially since there's no physical evidence to support the idea that either Scott or Springsteen to the crime).

Maybe I'm just too cynical, but I don't believe the DA or the police are actually working to solve this crime. I believe they're trying to find a way to make the case against Scott and Springsteen stick.

Karo said...

Perhaps Rosemary Lehmberg's office can work with OJ to "find the real killers."

NoMoreNoloContendere said...

Anyone know the full names of the investigators & the ADA on this case?

Do the records show a plea of no contest? Thanks.