Naked City

Feds enter yogurt shop case

The notorious 1991 yogurt shop murder case took a new turn on Oct. 7 when a federal grand jury handed down a four-count indictment against Patric Davidson, a friend of convicted defendant Michael Scott. Davidson, 37, is charged with being an accessory after the fact, failing to report a felony, making false statements to federal law enforcement agents, and obstruction of justice.

According to the indictment, beginning in late 1992 and continuing into early 2001, Davidson hid the fact that Scott had confided in him regarding his participation in the Dec. 6, 1991, slaying of four teenage girls in a North Austin I Can't Believe It's Yogurt! shop. Further, the indictment alleges that Scott gave Davidson a .380-caliber pistol, one of two guns used in the slayings, so that Davidson could get rid of the firearm. Davidson "did knowingly relieve, comfort, and assist" Scott by "receiving, concealing, and disposing" of the .380, the indictment reads; the .380 has never been recovered.

Over the course of the following nine years, the indictment alleges, Davidson concealed his knowledge of the crime by lying to investigators. On Oct. 8, Davidson appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin and was subsequently released from custody after posting a $5,000 bond; Austin appointed Horatio Aldredge, a federal public defender, to represent Davidson. Aldredge could not be reached for comment.

After eight years of investigation, in 1999 four suspects were arrested and charged with capital murder in the 1991 slayings of Eliza Thomas, 17; Amy Ayers, 13; and sisters Jennifer and Sarah Harbison, 17 and 15, inside the Anderson Lane store. Robert Springsteen IV was convicted and sentenced to death in 2001 for his role in the murders; Scott was convicted in 2002 and sentenced to life in prison. In January, saying his office didn't have enough evidence to win a conviction, Travis Co. District Attorney Ronnie Earle dropped all charges against the third suspect, Maurice Pierce, who was then freed after three years behind bars awaiting trial. Two separate grand juries, each empanelled in 1999, failed to indict a fourth suspect, Forrest Welborn. The Davidson indictment represents the first federal charges brought in the yogurt shop case; in a press release, Earle declined comment on the Davidson case.

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