AUSTIN – The Texas Supreme Court has rejected an appeal in connection to the 1991 yogurt shop murders.
According to KVUE’s partners at the Austin American-Statesman, the court rejected Robert Springsteen’s bid to be declared innocent in the case. Springsteen was sentenced to death in connection to the murders of four teenagers in 1999, and spent nearly nine years in prison before his capital murder conviction was overturned in 2006.
A lower court previously ruled Springsteen did not meet the definition of “actual innocence” under state law because he had not been pardoned and because prosecutors did not agree that he was innocent. Springsteen’s attorneys argued he deserved a change to argue before a judge he was innocent. They also said being declared innocent would make him eligible for nearly $720,000 from a state fund for wrongful convictions.
In December 1991, firefighters responded to a fire at the “I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt” shop in north Austin, and found the bodies of Amy Ayers, 13, Eliza Thomas, 17, Jennifer Harbison, 17, and her 15-year-old sister Sarah. All four teens had been shot.
Springsteen and a second suspect, Michael Scott, confessed to the murders and were convicted, but Springsteen’s conviction was overturned in 2006 when Texas’ highest criminal court ruled that portions of Scott’s confession, which was shown to corroborate Springsteen’s confession, violated the defendant’s right to confront his accuser at trial. Scott’s conviction was voided one year later for the same reason.