“Yogurt Shop Murders” Appeal Rejected
Court offers no comment on Robert Springsteen’s case
The Texas Supreme Court rejected on Friday an appeal from Robert Springsteen to be declared innocent of the still-unsolved 1991 Yogurt Shop Murders that killed four teenage girls. The ruling, issued without comment, affirms a state appeals court's 2016 ruling that Springsteen could not meet the definition of "actual innocence," and further that his 2014 attempt to seek such evidence was filed in a state district court that "lacks subject-matter jurisdiction to adjudicate Springsteen's claims." (That is, District Judge Darlene Byrne did not have authority to rule on the merits of the case.) Springsteen was originally sentenced to death after being convicted in the notorious killings, but in 2005 saw his sentence downgraded to life in prison – and then was eventually released in 2009 after DNA testing revealed the profile of an unknown male taken from a vaginal swab collected from one of the four victims. Former Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg then dismissed charges against Springsteen, but would not declare him actually innocent – thus preventing his full exoneration and a wrongful conviction payout of $720,000. He remains a suspect in the unsolved murders; prosecutors have argued that his exoneration would prohibit their ability to retry Springsteen should they find new evidence that would tie him to the murders.