Cathy Lynn Henderson, 55, was convicted in 1995 in the death of an infant she was babysitting in Pflugerville. At one point, Henderson was just a couple days away from execution for the death of 3-month-old Brandon Baugh before an appeals court voted to send her case back to trial.
In May, Travis County Diastrict judge Jon Wisser recommended a new trial because of recent scientific discoveries into the causes of head trauma similar to the injury Brandon suffered.
In 1994, Henderson claimed that Brandon died after he fell from her arms and hit his head on a concrete floor. Henderson says she panicked and drove north from the Pflugerville home. She buried the baby's body in a Bell County field and fled the state. Henderson was later arrested in Missouri.
During her trial, former Travis County Medical Examiner Dr. Roberto Bayardo claimed the child's injuries were not consistent with a fall. That testimony helped convict Henderson. Since then, Bayardo has testified that is possible the injuries were related to a fall. After hearing that testimony and others earlier this year, Judge Wisser recommended a new trial for Henderson.
"The defense arrayed a bunch of renowned experts from around the country who all testified that based on experiments and research that there was likelihood it may have been an accidental death as opposed to intentional death," Wisser tells FOX 7. "I just told the appellate courts that I didn't have very much confidence in the verdict and thought that another jury would have difficulty finding beyond a reasonable doubt that she was guilty."
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg released a statement saying:
"I believe justice requires that a new jury hear the case, which was the position I took with the appellate court...I will review all the evidence at the trial and at the subsequent hearings to determine whether the state will again seek the death penalty."