Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Yogurt Shop Defendants Released from Jail Pending Trial

The reporter does not mention it in the story below, but Robert Springsteen, one of the people released pending trial today, was originally sentenced to death. His death sentence had previously been changed to life after the U.S. Supreme Court banned executions of juvenile offenders.

From the Austin American Statesman:

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.”

Lehmberg was joined at the press conference by Police Chief Art Acevedo and other police and prosecutors.

“Of course I am concerned about their being at liberty,” she said. “I think they are guilty of horrible murders. But I ultimately believe that the successful prosecution of them hinges on making this decision.”

Lehmberg was joined at the press conference by Police Chief Art Acevedo and other police and prosecutors.

Acevedo said that he supports Lehmberg’s decision to seek a continuance in the case.

“We do believe we have the right suspects in custody,” he said.

After the press conference, Acevedo said his detectives are continuing to work the case, talking to friends and associates of defendants Scott and Springsteen to see if they know anything about the case.

“I told my investigators, our department strongly supports them” and will provide whatever resources they may need, Acevedo said.

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