Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Judge delays Cathy Henderson's execution

Attorneys given more time to file appeal.
New Execution Date: June 13, 2007

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

For 13 years, Eryn Baugh has been consumed with the fate of Cathy Lynn Henderson, the Pflugerville-area baby sitter sentenced to die for killing Baugh's 3-month-old son in 1994.

He followed her 1995 Travis County trial, tracked her rounds of appeals and recently has been looking forward to her date with death.

Cathy Lynn Henderson Baby sitter convicted of killing child was to be executed April 18.

He'll have to wait a bit longer.

On Monday, visiting state District Judge Jon Wisser announced that he would move Henderson's execution date from April 18 to June 13 to give her lawyers more time to appeal.

"I want it to be over," Baugh said. "It's not that we are after blood of Cathy Henderson. We are not seeking vengeance; we are seeking our freedom."

Henderson's lawyers had argued during a hearing last week that advances in the science of evaluating head trauma have shown that Brandon Baugh's injuries in 1994 could have been caused by an accident.

They said they will file an appeal based on what they say is a relatively new scientific approach that melds the work of doctors with that of physicists and engineers.

"I decided, although not convinced of the legal correctness of the defendant's position, it is in the interest of justice" to delay the execution, Wisser wrote in an e-mail to lawyers in the case.

Travis County Assistant District Attorney Bryan Case declined to comment on Wisser's ruling. Prosecutors had argued during last week's hearing that the science is not new and that the execution should go ahead.

A Travis County jury convicted Henderson, 50, of capital murder in 1995 after prosecutors argued that she, while baby-sitting Brandon and his older sister, deliberately slammed Brandon's head against a flat surface with enough force to shatter the base of his skull.

Doctors testified that the injuries could not have been caused by an accidental fall, as Henderson claimed.

Testimony showed that Henderson buried Brandon's body in a rural Bell County field before fleeing to Missouri, her native state.

Henderson's ex-husband and daughter, who live in Round Rock, said they were pleased with the extension.

"It's pretty tough once you prepare yourself for such a final event," Warren Henderson said.

Jennifer Henderson, 17, said she wants a new trial for her mother, "a fair new trial."

"This new evidence, it seems to explain what happened," she said.

Eryn Baugh isn't convinced. He thinks his son's injuries were too serious to have been caused by an accidental fall and said Henderson lost all benefit of the doubt when she buried Brandon's body and skipped town.

He and wife Melissa, who have moved to Carrollton, near Dallas, plan to attend the execution.

"I am hoping that one of these days she will drop all the lies and she will just tell us what happened that day," Eryn Baugh said, "and look us in the eyes and tell us that she's sorry."

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Kimmy said...

I am against all murder. I feel deeply for Brandon and his parents. Had Cathy Lynn Henderson been sentenced to life in prison without parole, Melissa and Eryn Baugh could try to move on, and not continue this day to day court fiasco.

I follow many death penalty cases, but this one goes beyond pathetic. Brandon's death was in Cathy's hands, and instead of calling 911, she ran and never looked back. She didn't think of her own children to show them accountability and ownership.

Karla Faye Tucker in my book is the face of the broken. She committed a crime, and didn't seek out pity. She took ownership of her actions, deeply apologized for her sins, and died at peace. I wish only that Bush would have granted her clemency so she could have convinced others to take ownership of their crimes.

It's time to stop hiding behind a piss poor childhood. If you messed up, own it. Pay the price. Stop being the victim.

Anonymous said...

Kimmy, your comments are totally contradictory. Who are you to tell Brandon's family how to feel, or say what would be best for them. It's easy to call the death penalty unjust or wrong when you are looking at it from the outside. However, speak to the victims of violent crime and see how they feel about it. Taking the death penalty off the table easily robs them of a true feeling that justice was served. Many feel that they can have no closure as long as the offender is breathing. Call it vengeful or whatever, but personally, I'd say that someone whose baby was killed by scum like Henderson has a right to feel as much hatred and anger as they please. Sure executing Cathy won't bring Brandon back, nor will it heal all wounds - nor is the DP designed too. What it will do is provide the family with a sense that the system worked for them. I think after 17 years society owes them that.

Anonymous said...

It is wrong to murder. Period. We need to lead by example. We do not kill.