Attorneys given more time to file appeal.
New Execution Date: June 13, 2007
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
For 13 years, Eryn Baugh has been consumed with the fate of Cathy Lynn Henderson, the Pflugerville-area baby sitter sentenced to die for killing Baugh’s 3-month-old son in 1994.
He followed her 1995 Travis County trial, tracked her rounds of appeals and recently has been looking forward to her date with death.
He’ll have to wait a bit longer.
On Monday, visiting state District Judge Jon Wisser announced that he would move Henderson’s execution date from April 18 to June 13 to give her lawyers more time to appeal.
“I want it to be over,” Baugh said. “It’s not that we are after blood of Cathy Henderson. We are not seeking vengeance; we are seeking our freedom.”
Henderson’s lawyers had argued during a hearing last week that advances in the science of evaluating head trauma have shown that Brandon Baugh’s injuries in 1994 could have been caused by an accident.
They said they will file an appeal based on what they say is a relatively new scientific approach that melds the work of doctors with that of physicists and engineers.
“I decided, although not convinced of the legal correctness of the defendant’s position, it is in the interest of justice” to delay the execution, Wisser wrote in an e-mail to lawyers in the case.
Travis County Assistant District Attorney Bryan Case declined to comment on Wisser’s ruling. Prosecutors had argued during last week’s hearing that the science is not new and that the execution should go ahead.
A Travis County jury convicted Henderson, 50, of capital murder in 1995 after prosecutors argued that she, while baby-sitting Brandon and his older sister, deliberately slammed Brandon’s head against a flat surface with enough force to shatter the base of his skull.
Doctors testified that the injuries could not have been caused by an accidental fall, as Henderson claimed.
Testimony showed that Henderson buried Brandon’s body in a rural Bell County field before fleeing to Missouri, her native state.
Henderson’s ex-husband and daughter, who live in Round Rock, said they were pleased with the extension.
“It’s pretty tough once you prepare yourself for such a final event,” Warren Henderson said.
Jennifer Henderson, 17, said she wants a new trial for her mother, “a fair new trial.”
“This new evidence, it seems to explain what happened,” she said.
Eryn Baugh isn’t convinced. He thinks his son’s injuries were too serious to have been caused by an accidental fall and said Henderson lost all benefit of the doubt when she buried Brandon’s body and skipped town.
He and wife Melissa, who have moved to Carrollton, near Dallas, plan to attend the execution.
“I am hoping that one of these days she will drop all the lies and she will just tell us what happened that day,” Eryn Baugh said, “and look us in the eyes and tell us that she’s sorry.”