Pediatric Experts Say Babysitter Is Innocent

New evidence says it's not murder

New evidence proves that a woman convicted of murder in 2005 is in fact innocent, according to court papers filed Oct. 20. Rosa Estela Olvera Jimenez was convicted and sentenced to 99 years in prison in connection with the death of toddler Bryan Gutierrez; Jimenez was babysitting Gutierrez in January 2003 when prosecutors say she shoved a wad of paper towels down his throat. Gutierrez lived until April 2003. At trial, doctors who treated Gutierrez opined that an intentional choking was the only way to explain the paper in his throat – but now three of the nation's leading pediatric specialists have reviewed the evidence and testimony, and they say none of it suggests Gutierrez's choking was anything but a tragic accident.

"This is a case of two tragic accidents: the accidental choking of [Gutierrez] and the wrongful conviction of [Jimenez] for injury to a child and murder," lawyer Bryce Benjet wrote in a writ filed yesterday in District Judge Charlie Baird's court (Baird's predecessor, Judge Jon Wisser, presided over the original trial). "All of the evidence and testimony in this case has now been reviewed by two of the top clinicians in the nation dealing with pediatric airway and pediatric critical care," reads the document. "Both confirm that [Gutierrez] likely choked on the paper towel accidentally." A leading pediatric forensic pathologist also supports that conclusion. "When this evidence is contrasted with the incomplete and unreliable opinions offered by the State at trial," the writ continues, "it is clear that Ms. Jimenez is innocent."

Benjet argues that Jimenez was also denied access to experts at trial and the effective assistance of her trial attorney Leonard Martinez. "Ms. Jimenez has been incarcerated now for over seven years in a case where there is absolutely no credible, reliable, scientific evidence that she did anything wrong," said Benjet in a statement. "We are asking that Ms. Jimenez's conviction be overturned and that she be declared innocent."

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at austinchronicle.com/opinion.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Rosa Jimenez
Judge to D.A.: Woman Likely Not Guilty in Toddler Death
Judge to D.A.: Woman Likely Not Guilty in Toddler Death
Judge Jon Wisser wrote a letter to the district attorney expressing concern over the case he originally presided over

Jordan Smith, Oct. 5, 2012

New Trial Denied in Choking Case
New Trial Denied in Choking Case
Appeals court overturned ruling granting new trial for babysitter

Jordan Smith, May 4, 2012

More by Jordan Smith
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
Motoreum's Yusuf & Antonio talk about the biz and their reality TV debut

May 22, 2014

Eighth Inmate of the Year Set to Die
Eighth Inmate of the Year Set to Die
Eighth inmate of the year set to die

May 9, 2014

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Rosa Jimenez, Bryan Gutierrez, courts, wrongful conviction, Charlie Baird, Jon Wisser, Bryce Benjet

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle