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Author Topic: 20 years Later, Austin Yogurt Shop Murders of 4 Teens Still Unsolved  (Read 14908 times)
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MuffyBee
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« on: December 06, 2011, 09:39:24 AM »

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/crime/yogurt-shop-murders%3A-20-years-later
Yogurt shop murders: 20 years later
Case still unsolved as anniversary hits

December 6, 2011




AUSTIN (KXAN) - Tuesday will mark a somber anniversary in Austin’s recent history. On Dec. 6, 1991, four teenage girls were murdered inside a North Austin yogurt shop. The crime remains unsolved.

It all unfolded on a balmy Friday night in a strip mall at the corner of Anderson Lane and Rockwood Lane. At the time it was home to an I Can't Believe It's Yogurt! store.

It was closing time, around 11 p.m. Four girls were inside:

    Amy Ayres, 13
    Jennifer Harbison, 17
    Sarah Harbison, 15, Jennifer's sister
    Eliza Thomas, 17

Jennifer and Eliza worked at the store.

The four girls were looking forward to a sleepover after they closed the shop for the night. They never made it out.
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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2011, 09:42:14 AM »

http://www.kxan.com/generic/news/texas/yogurt-shop-killings
Yogurt shop killings – a 20-year mystery
The murder of four teenage girls shocks Austin


(Drag slider to scroll through timeline at link)


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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2011, 05:41:12 PM »

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/crime/yogurt-shop-murder-argument-still-rages
Yogurt shop murder argument still rages
After 20 years, state and defense remain at odds

December 6, 2011

AUSTIN (KXAN) - On the 20th anniversary of the infamous Yogurt Shop murders, careful analysis points to the likelihood of one of two possibilities.

One: Capable and dedicated investigators and prosecutors live with the heartbreaking reality that despite their best efforts, they are, so far, unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, the guilt of the men they know did the deed.

The other: A botched crime scene led to a tainted investigation and prosecution that violated the defendants’ constitutional rights, resulting in a case blinded by bias that never even got close to the sociopaths who actually committed the crime.

This much we know: Stung by a Supreme Court decision to throw out separate murder convictions against suspects Robert Springsteen and Michael Scott, the prosecution took another hit when new DNA evidence showed no link to either of those men.

The DNA in question is known as Y-STR. It zeroes in on the Y-chromosome carried by males. In this case, the results found nothing that would put Scott or Springsteen at the site of the crime. Not only that, the testing suggested that someone else, someone completely unknown to investigators, not only was there, but was involved in the rape and murder of the victims.

Now the argument begins: The state says it is doing everything possible to follow the evidentiary trail and arrive at the truth.

A prominent Austin defense attorney who represented Springsteen at trial begs to differ, suggesting that investigators and prosecutors are unable to move forward, because they are blinded by the ‘bias of belief.’

Settle in: It’s a turbulent but fascinating ride.
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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2011, 07:00:50 PM »

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/crime/unit-works-to-solve-yogurt-shop-murders
Unit works to solve yogurt shop murders
1991 case city's only unsolved quadruple homicide

December 6, 2011

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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2011, 08:43:16 PM »

http://weareaustin.com/fulltext/?nxd_id=200447
Yogurt Shop murders: Investigators still searching for answers 20 years later
December 6, 2011



It's been two decades since four young girls were murdered at an I Can't Believe It's Yogurt shop in North Austin.

On Dec. 6, 1991, authorities found the bodies of four teenage girls - Amy Ayers, 13; Sarah Harbison, 15; Jennifer Harbison, 17; and Eliza Thomas, 17 in the I Can't Believe It's Yogurt shop on Anderson Lane in North Austin.  They had been raped and murdered.
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« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2011, 05:53:02 AM »

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/remembering-their-teen-angels
Remembering their teen angels
Yogurt shop murders 20 years later

December 6, 2011

Video at Link

 an angelic monkey an angelic monkey an angelic monkey an angelic monkey
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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2012, 08:25:17 AM »

http://www.statesman.com/news/local/public-safety-panel-may-vote-to-review-unsolved-2389539.html
Public safety panel may vote to review unsolved crime cases
June 3, 2012

The Austin Public Safety Commission is expected to vote on a resolution that would provide funding for the external review of certain unsolved major crime cases, beginning with the infamous 1991 yogurt shop slayings.

Vice Chairman Kim Rossmo said he will introduce the proposal today to the seven-member commission and give a short presentation on the weak evidence that took two men to trial in the notorious murder investigation, which he described in a written statement in advance of the meeting as having "suffered from ‘tunnel vision' and ‘group think.' "

"It appears detectives are trying to twist the evidence to fit pre-existing theories, rather than adjusting their beliefs to accommodate the new DNA evidence," wrote Rossmo, a Texas State University criminology professor and former police detective. "A proper investigation requires an open mind and a constant exploration of alternative suspects. It appears this has not occurred in any meaningful way in the tragic Yogurt Shop Murders case."

The resolution comes after several comments were made by a retired Austin police detective at the public safety panel's May meeting, disputing Rossmo's interpretation of the evidence and calling him a liar. The former detective said an evaluation had determined the evidence was not weak and took issue with the chairman's comment that it was "basically individuals (suspects) pointing fingers at each other."

But Rossmo said his presentation would make it clear that there were flaws in the investigation, which remains unsolved more than 20 years later.

Amy Ayers, 13, sisters Sarah and Jennifer Harbison, 15 and 17, and Eliza Thomas, 17, were found bound with their own clothing and shot in the head on Dec. 6, 1991, after authorities quelled a fire at the I Can't Believe It's Yogurt shop in North Austin.

The investigation into one of the most brutal crimes in Austin history has drawn criticism from the community, as officials relied heavily on confessions of the two men whose convictions were later overturned, and as authorities have been unable to identify the origin of DNA found on one of the victims,
 ::snipping2::
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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2012, 08:32:06 AM »

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/austin/rossmo-takes-final-case-to-commission
Rossmo takes final case to commission
Commissioner pushes for outside review of cases

June 4, 2012

AUSTIN (KXAN) - Kim Rossmo will have 15 minutes on Monday afternoon to make his case for an outside review of the Yogurt Shop murders investigation, and he expects to make the most of it.
On Sunday night, Rossmo drafted a resolution to present to his colleagues on the Public Safety Commission on Monday, outlining his best case for another look at cold cases. The resolution will call for a policy, to be approved by Council, that would provide external reviews for unsolved major crime cases.

The quadruple homicide known as the Yogurt Shop murders happened in 1991 but will be at the top of his list.

Rossmo said it was a KXAN story in December that raised doubts in his mind, doubts that have only grown with the statements of retired Det. Paul Johnson, who has accused Rossmo of lying about his evidence.

Rossmo, as vice chair of the Public Safety Commission, is not just an interested citizen. He's also considered a rising star in criminology circles with his methods of solving serial cases. In the case of the 20-year-old Yogurt Shop case, Rossmo has questions about why police did not pursue resolving the case with new DNA evidence, rather than simply allowing the evidence to drop cases against existing suspects.
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« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2012, 08:34:22 AM »

http://www.kvue.com/news/Austin-Commission-wants-new-detectives-in-Yogurt-Shop-murders-156953715.html
Commissioners want new detectives on Yogurt Shop homicides
June 4, 2012

Video at Link
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« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2012, 10:00:35 AM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_Austin_yogurt_shop_murders

1991 Austin yogurt shop murders
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« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2012, 10:06:03 AM »

http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2010-12-31/pierce-shooting-still-about-four-murders/
Pierce Shooting: 'Still About Four Murders'
Edit to add publication date of article.  MB  December 31, 2012

Quote
According to APD, Pierce ran a stop sign near Parmer Lane and McNeil Drive at about 10:54pm. After initially pulling over, officials say, Pierce got out of the car and fled on foot. One officer – rookie Brad Smith – followed Pierce in a patrol car, while a second, five-year veteran Officer Frank Wilson, pursued Pierce on foot. He caught up with him near the intersection of Shreveport Drive and Campos Drive, and a "struggle ensued," said APD spokeswoman Anna Sabana, during which Wilson tried to Tase Pierce, and Pierce allegedly grabbed a knife from Wilson's duty belt and cut the officer's neck. Wilson was able to draw his firearm and shoot Pierce, police say. Pierce ran off, but he was found, dead, nearby.
Wilson was taken to the hospital with a severed carotid artery, among other injuries, but he has since been released and is expected to make a full recovery.  

hmmm...does an innocent person try to cut the throat of a cop?
« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 10:16:49 AM by MuffyBee » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2012, 10:10:11 AM »

http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-18559_162-6076933.html

Innocence Lost: The Yogurt Shop Murders
Edit to add publication date of article.  MB  November 11, 2010
« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 10:18:01 AM by MuffyBee » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2012, 10:11:30 AM »

http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/courts/entries/2010/12/15/former_yogurt_shop_murder_defe.html

Former yogurt shop murder defendant charged in West Virginia
Edit to add publication date of article.  MB December 15, 2012
« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 10:18:57 AM by MuffyBee » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2012, 10:15:22 AM »

KittyMom - You're so good about posting the link with the article, but would you please include the date of publication along with it?        
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2012, 10:22:29 AM »

This was a terrible, terrible crime.    
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« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2012, 11:04:13 AM »

KittyMom - You're so good about posting the link with the article, but would you please include the date of publication along with it?       
I'm sorry.  I didn't realize I was supposed to do that.  I'll do it from now on.  Thanks.
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« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2012, 11:16:07 AM »

KittyMom - You're so good about posting the link with the article, but would you please include the date of publication along with it?       
I'm sorry.  I didn't realize I was supposed to do that.  I'll do it from now on.  Thanks.


Thank you KittyMom.  It's really helpful for those reading to know the date of the article and for updating threads and for research purposes. 
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« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2012, 06:48:19 PM »

https://twitter.com/#!/JudgeJeanine
Jeanine Pirro ‏@JudgeJeanine
&we'll cover the yogurt shop murders of 4 young girls in Austin Texas in 1991.These families needs justice. Please tune in to #FoxNews 9pmET

12:54 PM - 6 Jul 12 via web · Details


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« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2013, 03:36:21 PM »

http://www.statesman.com/news/news/crime-law/former-yogurt-shop-defendant-seeking-700000-for-ti/nX27N/
Former yogurt shop defendant seeking $700,000 for time in prison
May 24, 2013
A man whose conviction was overturned in the brutal killings of one of four teenage girls at an Austin yogurt shop in 1991 has asked a federal court to clear his name.
If the court finds him innocent, Robert Springsteen IV could collect more than $700,000 from the state for wrongful imprisonment, according to a petition filed in U.S. federal court in Austin. Springsteen spent nine years behind bars after a trial that included a confession he made to police. That confession was coerced, his defense attorneys have said.
The girls were bound, raped and shot in a crime that was made more difficult to investigate because the attackers set a fire in the shop that damaged the evidence.
After Springsteen’s conviction was overturned on appeal in 2006, prosecutors ordered DNA testing on evidence recovered from the girls’ bodies to build a stronger case, but the samples did not match him or Michael Scott, another suspect convicted of the killings. All charges against Springsteen were dismissed in 2009, although the district attorney’s office said that officials remained confident that Springsteen and Scott were guilty.
In the petition filed Thursday, Springsteen faults the district attorney’s office, saying it has “failed and refused to declare him actually innocent.” That refusal is a violation of his constitutional rights, the document said.
Springsteen applied to the Texas Comptroller’s Office on Oct. 23 for compensation from the state but his request was denied two months later because “there has been no finding of actual innocence by a court of law,” according to the petition.
 

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« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2014, 10:20:32 PM »

http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2014-03-07/springsteen-sues-for-innocence-in-bexar-county/
Springsteen Sues for Innocence – in Bexar County
Freed inmate takes his case to a friendlier venue

March 7, 2014

More than four years after the dismissal of the capital murder charges filed against him in connection with the notorious 1991 yogurt shop murders, Robert Springsteen has filed a civil case in Bexar County district court, asking that a judge make a finding that he is actually innocent of that crime. "Without a judicial declaration of innocence, there is no recourse for the innocent who are wrongly accused or convicted," reads the suit, filed in December 2013.
Springsteen was one of four men charged with committing, as teenagers, the horrifying murders of four teen girls – Eliza Thomas, 17, sisters Jennifer and Sarah Harbison, 17 and 15, and Amy Ayers, 13 – on Dec. 6, 1991, inside a North Austin yogurt shop. Eight years later, Springsteen, 16 at the time of the murders, and his high school acquaintances Michael Scott and Maurice Pierce, also then 16, were charged with capital murder. (A grand jury twice declined to indict a fourth teenager, Forrest Welborn, as an accomplice.)
The state sought, and received, a death sentence for Springsteen in 2001; a year later, a jury returned a verdict of life for Scott. Pierce spent more than three years in jail before the charges against him were dismissed for a lack of evidence. (Pierce was shot and killed in 2010 by an Austin Police Department officer during a struggle after fleeing a traffic stop; the officer was cleared of wrongdoing.)
The convictions of Springsteen and Scott were ultimately overturned. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that the prosecutors had violated the suspects' constitutional rights; after marathon police interrogation sessions, both Scott and Springsteen had confessed, including the admission by Springsteen that he had raped Ayers. The subsequent discovery in 2008 of two unknown male DNA profiles taken from vaginal swabs of the slain girls cast considerable doubt on the confessions. Although the state has tested hundreds of men connected to the case, including the original four suspects, boyfriends of the girls, and other acquaintances, no match has ever been found for either profile.
District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg reluctantly dismissed the charges against Springsteen and Scott in 2009, while maintaining that they remain prime suspects. The state's new theory, apparently, is that the four boys were aided by two additional, unidentified accomplices. Although the APD told the Chronicle in 2011 that its investigation was ongoing, it appears that the case has again gone cold (see "Scene of the Crime," Dec. 16, 2011).
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