Posted: November 18, 2013 4:15 PM
More than a decade after four San Antonio women were convicted of multiple counts of sexual abuse, based largely on what is now considered discredited medical testimony, three of the women are expected to be released from prison on bail today. The fourth woman was released on parole last year.
Collectively known as the “San Antonio Four,” Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh and Anna Vasquez were charged with molesting two young sisters. They refused to plead guilty to the crime, but after multiple trials were held in 1997 and 1998, the four women were convicted.
The Innocence Project of Texas, which has represented the women since 2010, recently presented evidence that the medical testimony used against them at trial has since been discredited and that one of the alleged victims has come forward and confirmed that the crimes of which she and her sister accused the women never actually occurred.
KENS 5-CBS San Antonio reported that all parties are expected to make an agreement that would pave the way for the release of Ramirez, Rivera and Mayhugh.
Anna Vasquez, now 37, spent 13 years in jail before being paroled last year. She is nervous about the hearing and hoping for the best. She said to KENS 5-CBS, “ ‘We were charged and convicted and I was still in doubt. . . . I could not believe that this has happened.’ ” She went on to explain, “ ‘It's a huge injustice to us, we had many years taken away from us. . . . I was angry, I would say I was in shock, disbelief.’ ”
According to the Innocence Project of Texas, the writs of habeus corpus that introduced the new evidence are among the first filed to invoke a recently passed junk-science bill in Texas. Senate Bill 344 expands the law to give inmates convicted by outdated or "junk" science the ability to appeal those convictions.
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