Yogurt Shop Suspect's Appeal Unsuccessful

Robert Springsteen's bid for full exoneration is blocked

Robert Springsteen's latest effort to clear his name and receive full exoneration for his 2001 conviction in the notorious and still-unsolved Yogurt Shop Murders proved unsuccessful last Wednesday, Dec. 21, when the state's 3rd Court of Appeals affirmed the 2014 ruling of state District Judge Darlene Byrne that the court "lacks subject-matter jurisdiction to adjudicate Spring­steen's claims," Justice Bob Pemberton wrote in a 22-page opinion. That is, Byrne, or any district judge, does not possess the authority at this point to rule on Springsteen's innocence. Springsteen, who was originally sentenced to death for his alleged role in the 1991 quadruple homicide, saw his sentence downgraded to life in prison by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005, and was eventually released in 2009 (along with another defendant, Michael Scott) after new DNA testing revealed the profile of an unknown male taken from a vaginal swab collected from one of the four victims. (Two other suspects saw their charges dismissed in 2009 as well.) At the time, Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg dismissed charges against Springsteen but declined to declare him actually innocent, thus preventing his full exoneration. Springsteen would receive $720,000 from the state for his wrongful conviction if declared innocent. He remains a suspect in the murders, and subject to new charges.


This story has been updated to reflect that a state court confirmed the ruling, not a federal court.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Robert Springsteen, Texas Third Court of Appeals, Bob Pemberton, Yogurt Shop Murders, Darlene Byrne, U.S. Supreme Court, Rosemary Lehmberg, Michael Scott

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