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  1. #1
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    Lawyer: DNA clears Yogurt Shop Murder Suspects

    The long cold case of 4 teens murdered in an Austin Yogurt Shop was solved by confessions. Convictions were later tossed. Now new DNA testing does not match any of the suspects.


    http://www.statesman.com/news/conten...101yogurt.html


  2. #2
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    I always thought there was something funky with these convictions. They didn't seem to have much evidence except the confessions. A grand jury failed to indict one guy and 2 others spent 9 years in prison for a crime someone else may have commited. Those beautiful girls need justice, they need to make sure the right guy did it.


  3. #3
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    Fifty other people confessed to these murders. DNA on 3 of the victims do not match any of the suspects. They are being held in jail pending the new trial. one lawyer is trying to get his client released.

    "The state has relied on allegations charges and tainted witnesses -- people saying our clients confessed. It was all words, all a house of cards, used to deprive our clients of nine and a half years of their lives and what we're offering is what they should have been offering -- scientific evidence,"

    http://www.keyetv.com/content/news/t...mTmR9R3wQ.cspx

    OMI, there is no way to reconvict probably innocent men with this DNA evidence... they need to drop the charges and reinvestigate the whole thing.


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    This is why I am usually against the DP. Hope they find the real killers and justice for the family.


  5. #5
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    This is why I am usually against the DP. Hope they find the real killers and justice for the family.


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    Yogurt Shop Murderers Wrongfully Convicted ... Or Not?

    This was a high-profile case (and conviction) in Austin around ten years ago.

    "State District Judge Mike Lynch this morning ordered yogurt shop murder defendants Michael Scott and Robert Springsteen released from jail pending trial after postponing Scott’s previously scheduled July 6 re-trial at prosecutors’ request.

    Travis County prosecutors said they wanted more time to determine whose DNA was found in March 2008 in vaginal swabs taken from 13-year-old victim Amy Ayers. That DNA was later found in another teenage victim.

    Defense lawyers for Scott opposed the request, saying they feared that prosecutors would use it to find additional evidence against their client.

    Michael Scott’s wife, Jeannine Scott, said she is happy her husband is coming home after almost 10 years behind bars, but nothing short of a dismissal of charges will satisfy her.

    “It’s just another tactic, it’s another delay,” she said. “The evidence already shows they have the wrong men.”

    At a press conference, Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg read from a statement that said, in part: “The reliable, scientific evidence in the case presents one, and one only, unknown male donor. Given that, I could not in good conscience allow this case to go to trial before the identity of this male donor is determined, and the full truth is known.

    “I remain confident that Robert Springsteen and Michael Scott are both responsible for the deaths at the yogurt shop but it would not be prudent to risk a trial until we also know the nature of the involvement of this unknown male.”

    http://www.statesman.com/blogs/conte...ogurt_tri.html

    More background here.

    http://blog.law.northwestern.edu/blu...rder-case.html

    (Prosecution motto: never let go, never -- Nifong, eat your heart out.)
    It's not what a man knows that makes him a fool, it's what he does know that ain't so. .... Josh Billings


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  8. #7
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    Hi, Wudge! Thanks for posting these links. I remember when this crime occurred. It was very frightening, since I knew teens who worked at yogurt & sandwich shops late into the night. I remember being happy when someone was held accountable for the crime.

    I am a BIG supporter of the innocence project: I have learned so much about wrongful convictions that I have just about lost faith in our legal system. (For those of you who don't remember, I have a son who was accused of causing an accident that resulted in severe harm to another: it took two years to prove my son's innocence (and yes, although the law states you are innocent until proven guilty, we HAD to PROVE his innocence.)

    This is a very interesting case. I am scratching my head over two things. #1....Whose DNA is in that victim? and #2.....why would the defense be AGAINST further testing?

    I look forward to following this case to it's end.


  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgeaux View Post
    Hi, Wudge! Thanks for posting these links. I remember when this crime occurred. It was very frightening, since I knew teens who worked at yogurt & sandwich shops late into the night. I remember being happy when someone was held accountable for the crime.

    I am a BIG supporter of the innocence project: I have learned so much about wrongful convictions that I have just about lost faith in our legal system. (For those of you who don't remember, I have a son who was accused of causing an accident that resulted in severe harm to another: it took two years to prove my son's innocence (and yes, although the law states you are innocent until proven guilty, we HAD to PROVE his innocence.)

    This is a very interesting case. I am scratching my head over two things. #1....Whose DNA is in that victim? and #2.....why would the defense be AGAINST further testing?

    I look forward to following this case to it's end.

    (I had a great 4th.)

    A re-trial was scheduled to start July 6th. However, on June 23rd, prosecutors asked for more time to investigate the DNA results. But the Judge told the prosecutors that if they wanted more time, he would release Michael Scott and Robert Springsteen (Springsteen received a death sentence). The Judge was true to his word, and the prisoners were released.

    The defense wanted the trial to start as scheduled (July 6th). They strongly believe the new DNA evidence would have resulted in an acquittal, so they were bothered by the prosection's request for more time. The defense is concerned about LE and/or the prosecution pulling some shenanigans. It's fair to say that the defense does not trust LE or the prosecutors one iota -- defense attorneys have long alleged that LE forced/coerced Springsteen's confession.

    Regarding your question: whose DNA is it? That's the magic question. But it did not come from Springsteen or Scott.

    As for what happened to your son, I do not recall reading about it. If you posted on the happenings, please provide me with the thread link. I would like to read about what transpired.

    It sounds like your son's case was eventually settled to the satisfaction of the family, no doubt after great worry, expense, trial and tribulation. Moreover, it sounds like the bloom came off our judicial system for you. As you know, many who post here consider our system to be quite gilded. It's always a wrenching experience for people who are forced to learn the truth.

    Every year, I receive a few out-of-the-blue communiques from people who, over the years, have posted in crime forums and remember me. Usually, the communique relates to a family member who has suddenly found themselves in serious jeopardy with the law -- yes folks, it can easily happen to you or yours. Unfortunately, a lot of damage is often done before any astute advice can be given to them or legal representation is obtained and appears.

    (Remember, anything you "do" or "say", can and "will" be used against you. And I do I mean "anything".)
    It's not what a man knows that makes him a fool, it's what he does know that ain't so. .... Josh Billings


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  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgeaux View Post
    Hi, Wudge! Thanks for posting these links. I remember when this crime occurred. It was very frightening, since I knew teens who worked at yogurt & sandwich shops late into the night. I remember being happy when someone was held accountable for the crime.

    I am a BIG supporter of the innocence project: I have learned so much about wrongful convictions that I have just about lost faith in our legal system. (For those of you who don't remember, I have a son who was accused of causing an accident that resulted in severe harm to another: it took two years to prove my son's innocence (and yes, although the law states you are innocent until proven guilty, we HAD to PROVE his innocence.)

    This is a very interesting case. I am scratching my head over two things. #1....Whose DNA is in that victim? and #2.....why would the defense be AGAINST further testing?

    I look forward to following this case to it's end.
    the issue wasnt over the testing.......it was over stall tactics on the testing whilel they fear the prosecutors are looking for evidence elsewhere. as someone with experience on a murder case with no forensic evidence, i'd be worried they state is gonna look for a jailhouse snitch wanting to cut a deal for himself, to put a bullshooty story up about what they told him.


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    I always thought that case was bogus. They convicted those young men while the real killer was out to do who knows what.


  13. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by colette View Post
    I always thought that case was bogus. They convicted those young men while the real killer was out to do who knows what.
    I never thought this killing was the work of teenagers. I always thought it was someone older. Wasn't there also a suspect who ran to Mexico? Maybe I am thinking of another case. I'll never forget seeing those girls' faces on the billboard they showed during Unsolved Mysteries. Smiling, happy and so young. They deserve true justice.


  14. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by HesterMofet View Post
    I never thought this killing was the work of teenagers. I always thought it was someone older. Wasn't there also a suspect who ran to Mexico? Maybe I am thinking of another case. I'll never forget seeing those girls' faces on the billboard they showed during Unsolved Mysteries. Smiling, happy and so young. They deserve true justice.
    LE looked at many people (suspects), but came to focus on four males, Robert Springsteen, Michael Scott, Forrest Welburn (alleged lookout but not indicted by either of two Grand Juries) and Maurice Pierce. The D.A. alleged Pierce to have been the mastermind and obtained an indictment against him only to drop all charges three years later (in 2003) based on a lack of evidence.

    Nevertheless, both LE and the current D.A., Mary Lehmberg, maintain that all four men were involved in the 1991 murders of Amy Ayers (13), Eliza Thomas (17) and sisters Sarah Hobson (17) and Jennifer Hobson (15), all of whom had been stripped, bound, gagged, shot in the head and burned in a fire that is alleged to have been set to destroy evidence. However, only Michael Scott and Robert Springsteen were tried and convicted. Robert Springsteen was convicted in a 2001 trial and sentenced to death. Michael Scott was convicted in a 2002 trial and sentenced to life-in-prison.

    In June of 2006, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) ruled -- after considering the appeal issues for almost three years -- that Robert Springsteen's trial had violated his Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses against him (confrontation clause). The CCA remanded the case back to the D.A..

    Following suit, in June of 2007, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) ruled that Michael Scott's trial had also violated his Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses against him (same confrontation clause issue). The CCA ordered a new trial.

    Eventually, the original trial Judge, Michael Lynch, ordered both Springsteen and Scott remanded back to Travis County with orders that they were to be held in jail there for their new trials.

    Now, the D.A. is faced with the new DNA evidence (re-testing produced it in March of 2008) that was found in the body of thirteen year-old Amy Ayers -- no one claims that she was sexually active. Moreover, LE has since compared the new DNA evidence to that of Amy's former teenage friends (and over 100 other people) and not found a match.

    Still, the key is that the DNA evidence doesn't match any of the four men that the D.A., Mary Lehmberg, and LE still maintain are responsible for the four murders and the subsequent torching of the yogurt shop (I Can't Believe Its Yogurt). Further, not a shred of physical evidence ever tied any of these four men to the murders.
    It's not what a man knows that makes him a fool, it's what he does know that ain't so. .... Josh Billings


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    Still, the key is that the DNA evidence doesn't match any of the four men that the D.A., Mary Lehmberg, and LE still maintain are responsible for the four murders and the subsequent torching of the yogurt shop (I Can't Believe Its Yogurt). Further, not a shred of physical evidence ever tied any of these four men to the murders.[/QUOTE]

    Please excuse the snip. This is hard to believe and smacks of the legal system just wanting to close the case. I find it very hard to believe that four young men could be all over a murder scene like this one and not leave any physical evidence, especially since this was before DNA testing was all the rage and all the criminals knew about.

    This looks like some serious injustice.


  16. #14
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    LE isn't perfect and neither is our justice system. Sometimes they make mistakes, and when they do the person or persons they pointed to, plus their family and friends all pay for that.

    Kgeaux I am so sorry for what happened with your son. And somehow I feel like me saying that I am glad your son managed to get everything straightened out isn't enough, because I know it had to have cost you financially and emotionally. Never the less, I am glad it did get straightened out eventually.

    I still think that as flawed as it is and I know that there are flaws, our system is better than so many others. But I will admit that it could be better.


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  18. #15
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    I saw this case on 48 Hours and I believe they are innocent. I have a real problem with the DA. She appears to really want to stick this crime to these four even with the DNA evidence. Instead of admitting a mistake had been made, she goes on to say that the DNA belongs to an unidentified 5th person that was with the boys that night. That is just insane! I hope the DNA is eventually linked to someone and the DA offers a heartfelt public apology!


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  20. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Indianagirl View Post
    I saw this case on 48 Hours and I believe they are innocent. I have a real problem with the DA. She appears to really want to stick this crime to these four even with the DNA evidence. Instead of admitting a mistake had been made, she goes on to say that the DNA belongs to an unidentified 5th person that was with the boys that night. That is just insane! I hope the DNA is eventually linked to someone and the DA offers a heartfelt public apology!
    reasons are pretty simple.
    it would one) admit they locked up innocent people for crimes they didnt commit
    two) admit that a brutal quadruple murderer has been on the loose for over 18 years now, and god knows how many other victims he has.


  21. #17
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    The only evidence against Springsteen and Scott was their "confession", that included "details of the crime only the perps would know". This "confession" was obtained by multiple detectives that included Hector Palacio who was eventually fired for a number of transgressions including "rough interigations". He later became famous for having obtained the "confession" that included "details of the crime only the perps would know" from Richard Ochoa in the Nancy DePriest murder case. Two kids were convicted of murder soley on the basis of that confesion. They were convicted in spite of the fact that the victim appeared to have been raped yet the semen belonged to unknown third party. Eventually the unknowed third party came forward and confessed to comitting the crime alone (his DNA was a match).

    This case appears to be pretty much the same (except that the kids who didn't "confess" weren't prosecutted). I suspect it is going to cost The city of Austin or Travis county quite a bit.


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  23. #18
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    the ironic part is the prosecutor knew the confessions were weak evidence and wanted the dna so she could make it air tight. boy that sure backfired huh? now she's scrambling to make excuses.........its very much like the juan rivera case where the dna cleared him but the proescution got another conviction based on his 'confession' (which didnt remotely fit the facts of the case) and the claims that the victim (an 11 year old girl) had multiple sex partners or the crime lab screwed up (since when does the prosecution BENFIT from bad lab work?)
    then there was the case in buffalo where the woman was convicted of strangling her daughter based on her boyfriends testimony. now it appears he was the killer all along (thanks to dna evidence not available back then) but since they gave him immunity to testify, they are now claiming the little girl died of drug overdose. so after 15 years of fighting to clear her own name, the mom now has to essentially clear her daughter's name too. and the real killer walks.


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  25. #19
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    The poor parents of the murdered girls must be so confused. I feel so bad for them.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Nyla4 View Post
    The poor parents of the murdered girls must be so confused. I feel so bad for them.
    they arent thinking clearly cause they are willing to lock up innocent people in the name of closure. do they think they're daughters would want the wrong people locked up while the real killers walk? i get what happens in most of these cases.........the victims families are convinced more by the prosecutions 'sincerity' to put the right people away then what the evidence actually says. its sad.


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    I was aware of this case but didn't know much about it until the last few days. Its pretty obvious that the prosecution wanted to convict somebody; anybody for this crime While I am not convinced that the prosecution "knew" they we innocent, there are serious ethical issues raised here. Realistically, jurors are highly unlikely to acquit when the crime is "horrific" like this one. I know that defence attorneys take pride in their ability to "sway" a jury to acquit a guilty client. In truth, they are, in fact. acting ethically and are justified in their pride when they do their job well. Prosecutors have an entirely different ethical standard. It is a complete violation of a prosecutors' ethical standard to bring charges against someone whom they are not personally convinced of their guilt. In 2000 I'm not so sure the members of the jury were aware of the real problem of coerced "false confessions" or the reliability of DNA. The DA did however and they went ahead with the case.


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  29. #22
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    I am not convinced that the four men are guilty of this crime.
    I think of The West Memphis Three when I saw this.


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    TX - Yogurt Shop Murders, Austin, 06-Dec-1991

    National show puts focus on Yogurt Shop murders

    Reported by: Katherine Stolp
    Wednesday, April 14 2010

    The parents of all four teenage girls killed in the yogurt shop murders reunite for the first time in years. They're joining forces with the hope of finally putting the horrific crime to rest.

    It's been nearly two decades since their daughters were murdered at an I Can't Beleive It's Yogurt shop in Northwest Austin.

    On Tuesday evening they taped an episode of America’s Most Wanted and spoke exclusively to KEYE TV’s Katherine Stolp.

    It will be the fifth time this case has aired on that show. The parents said they’re desperate because just months ago, the two men who served nine years in jail for the murders walked out; the charges against them dismissed.
    .....................................
    Last June, an unknown man's DNA found on at least one of the girls, cast doubt on the confessions of two men. But a judge said their case was too weak. Michael Scott and Robert Springsteen walked; all charges against them dropped.

    “I am totally convinced these guys killed my daughter,” exclaimed Ayers.

    “They know they murdered our girls,” said Thomas. “They let them out. It just doesn't make sense.”

    “The brutal murder of these four innocent young girls here is one of the worst crimes in the history of America,” said the host of America’s Most Wanted, John Walsh. “It's appalling. I can't wait for the DA to saddle up and do the right thing and retry these guys.”

    Until then, the parents hope this national show will help bring them the justice they've waited for, for so long.

    “It may be small, we just need a little break,” said Ayers-Wilson. “We have so much evidence we just need a little break to finish this.”

    The District Attorney is still trying to find out who matches that mystery DNA. The America's Most Wanted episode will air next Saturday on April 24th.


    more here

    http://weareaustin.com/fulltext/?nxd_id=58735

    ========================================
    Good 48 Hours article with background info on the case

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/...in;contentBody
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  32. #24
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    The show aired tonight. Unbelievable case. The parents of these poor murdered girls have gone through hell waiting for justice all these years.

    I'm praying that the people who did this are found and punished.


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  34. #25
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    I saw the show last night too - that is so awful. I wonder if they're testing the unknown DNA... if any of the girls had a boyfriend who might have innocently left their DNA in an unrelated earlier situation.
    Last edited by Hucklepie; 04-25-2010 at 01:00 PM. Reason: clarity


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