The Austin Chronicle

Yogurt Shop Hearing Postponed

By Jordan Smith, August 12, 2009, 9:41am, Newsdesk

A hearing initially scheduled for today, during which prosecutors were expected to announce a plan to move forward with the prosecution of yogurt shop murder defendant Michael Scott (and, ultimately, with the second defendant, Robert Springsteen) -- be it with a trial or, perhaps, a dismissal (which seems increasingly likely to happen) -- has been canceled.

Instead, on Aug. 11, Distric Judge Mike Lynch issued an order giving the state until October 28 to announce that it will proceed with a retrial in the Scott case beginning in January 2010. If the state announces it is "not ready" for trial and files a motion to continue, it will have to do so based on some new set of circumstances. The court "will not entertain" any further delay based on the same set of circumstances the state argued in June, Lynch wrote -- specifically, that the state was not ready to proceed to trial before finding the unknown donor of male DNA found inside at least two of the four young victims.

Meanwhile, a crew with the CBS show 48-Hours has been poking around town, working on a feature about the infamous yogurt shop murders -- presumably picking up from where the show's last piece (arguably the best national piece about the case) left off nearly a decade ago. The team has been trying to come up with copies of the interrogation tapes of defendants Robert Springsteen and Michael Scott made by police in 1999. That move prompted Judge Lynch to remind lawyers with the case that a protective order issued last September remains "in full force and effect," he wrote on Aug. 6. That means evidence associated with the case -- lab reports, video or photos, for example -- remain under seal with the court. (The show is slated to run next month.)

Springsteen and Scott were released on personal bond in June after prosecutors told the court they were not ready to proceed with Scott's trial, planned for early July. District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg said, essentially, that the state was not willing to go forward without finding the unknown man whose DNA has been found in at least two of the victims. That DNA was initially discovered last year -- since then, more than 100 men have been ruled out as the donor of the semen that had previously been undetected.

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