Yogurt-Shop Murders Update
District Judge remands Robert Springsteen to Travis Co., where he'll remain in jail until retrial for murder in connection with infamous yogurt-shop killings
Springsteen, 17 at the time of the crime, was convicted and sentenced to death in 2001 for his role in the grisly slaying of four teen girls at a North Austin yogurt shop; they were stripped, bound, gagged, and shot before the shop was set on fire, presumably to cover the crime. Springsteen's death sentence was overturned in 2005, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that executing juvenile offenders violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. And last year, Texas' Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Springsteen's conviction, ruling (in line with a 2004 Supreme Court opinion) that the trial court improperly violated Springsteen's Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses against him by allowing portions of co-defendant Michael Scott's "confession" to be submitted as evidence to the jury. Scott could not be compelled to testify at Springsteen's trial; to do so would violate Scott's Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. So when his statements were read into the record, the defense was unable to cross-examine.
Similarly, Scott's conviction relied in part on Springsteen's statements to police, which the court allowed to be read into evidence, though Springsteen himself did not testify. On June 6, the CCA overturned Scott's conviction as well, sending it back to Travis Co. for retrial, ruling that, as in the Springsteen case, the court circumvented Scott's right to cross-examine witnesses against him.