Texas Court of Criminal Appeals grants stay of execution to Robert Roberson

On Thursday, June 16, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) granted a stay of execution to Robert Roberson, who was scheduled to be put to death Tuesday, June 21 for the 2002 murder of his daughter in Anderson County. Roberson’s attorneys argued that his conviction was based on junk science.  Jonathan Silver of the The Texas Tribune reports:

New evidence shows that Roberson is actually innocent of capital murder and that “the state relied on false, misleading and scientifically invalid testimony to obtain his conviction,” his attorneys wrote in the filing. They also asserted that Roberson’s right to due process was violated at trial because prosecutors introduced “false forensic science testimony that current science rejects.

The CCA is sending Roberson’s case back to the trial court to examine the new scientific findings regarding Shaken Baby Syndrome. Roberson, who has consistently maintained his innocence, said his daughter’s death was related to an injury from falling out of her bed. In their appeal, his attorneys state:

Instead of taking Robert’s explanation about a fall seriously or exploring all possible causes of the injury sustained by a chronically ill child who had been at the doctor’s office with 104.5-degree temperature only two days before a tragedy was hastily deemed a crime and a father, doing the best he could to care for his daughter despite severe cognitive impairments, was branded a murderer. Robert was convicted under a scientific theory that, if offered as cause of death today, would consistently result in acquittal.

Read more about the case and the stay of execution from The Texas Tribune and Texas Defender Service.

The state of Texas has put six people to death in 2016. There have been 14 executions nationwide. At this time, there are seven additional executions scheduled to take place in Texas through October 2016. This is the third execution to be stayed by the courts in 2016.