AUSTIN (KXAN) - Cathy Lynn Henderson was once just two days away from her scheduled execution. Now, she's getting ready for a new trial.
A jury found Henderson guilty of capital murder in the death of 3-month-old Brandon Baugh in 1994. She was babysitting the infant at her Pflugerville home when she said he accidentally fell and hit his head. The medical examiner told the jury it was clearly a homicide and she was sentenced to death.
In 2007, an appeal stopped her scheduled execution. The medical examiner reversed his testimony, saying new science raised the possibility that Brandon's death was accidental. Last month a Travis County Court of Criminal Appeals granted Henderson a new trial.
Wednesday Henderson attended the first pre-trial hearing. She and her attorney stood before a judge, preparing to revisit the 19-year-old case. A second trial could mean a second chance.
"She deserves support and care," said Henderson's friend Galia Harrington.
Harrington showed up to the hearing along with others from the local Quaker group, "Friends Meeting of Austin." They say they came to support Henderson--and to show support for life in general.
"My heart goes out to Brandon Baugh's family," said Gratia Winship, a member of the group and friend of Henderson's.
"We are really in support of them, also," said Harrington, "I don't want anyone to think we are one camp or the other."
The Baugh family also came to the courtroom Wednesday, ready to endure the process all over again.
Travis County District Judge Karen Sage said the hearing was a starting point to determine where this case is going. Questions remain--will prosecutors once again seek the death penalty? A new trial could mean new information, new opportunities--a new outcome?
"I still oppose the death penalty, and I don't want it to be used to cause the same kind of suffering to those who love Cathy Henderson," said Winship.
A judge will take the case back up in a month.
The Baugh family has reached out to KXAN. They met with the District Attorney's office following the hearing, and said they would not comment on the case at this time.
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