AUSTIN (KXAN) - A Travis County District Judge has denied a bond reduction for one of two suspects in the Yogurt Shop murders case. Judge Mike Lynch ruled Monday against Robert Springsteen's motion to have his bond reduced while awaiting trial.
Defense attorneys for Springsteen said new DNA test results prove their client did not commit the Yogurt Shop Murders and last week, asked District Judge Mike Lynch to release their client on bond while he awaits trial.
In his ruling, Judge Lynch said, "In order to fully assess the accuracy and significance of the testing done in this case, a much more lengthy, extensice, rigorous opportunity for examination and cross-examination of the experts is necessary. This robust review will occur at trial before the trier of fact."
Springsteen and Michael Scott are accused of killing four teenage girls at the I Can't Believe it's Yogurt' shop in North Austin in 1991. Much of the evidence at the crime scene was destroyed when the perpetrators set it on fire.
Springsteen was in court at the bond reduction hearing last week and took notes throughout much of the hearing. His attorneys presented Judge Lynch with the results of new DNA lab testing.
Defense attorneys contend the new DNA test results show a mixture of DNA from two different men from the vaginal swabs of sisters Jennifer and Sarah Harbison.
One of the men has been identified as Jennifer's boyfriend at the time, Sammy Buchanan. Prosecutors say Buchanan's DNA was found on swabs from both Harbison sisters because their bodies were stacked on top of one another at the crime scene.
The other profile is unknown.
The state's expert challenges these results and cites an inability by the lab to duplicate the results, as well as the very small amount of DNA that was tested.
Back in March of 2008, state lab testing showed unknown male DNA on swabs taken from victim Amy Ayers. Prosecutors insist that result came from contamination of the evidence. They have tested more than 100 people with no positive result.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg made a rare appearance at last Thursday's hearing.
"We believe there is one unknown male donor in the evidence that we had tested in March of 2008 and that's why we were interested in this hearing today because it is not as the defense would have it that there are multiple unknown donors," said Lehmberg.
"What we have is a mounting body of scientific evidence that says its wasn't these boys- the most important thing the DNA stands for is- it's someone else," said defense attorney Joe James Sawyer.
Prosecutors have insisted all along that Springsteen and Michael Scott are guilty of the murders, citing their confessions when they were first arrested in 1999. Defense attorneys say the confessions were coerced and the result of aggressive and inappropriate questioning tactics by Austin police.
Springsteen and Scott were convicted of the murders in 2001, but an appeals court threw out those convictions.
Michael Scott's trial is scheduled to begin July 6. Springsteen's trial will follow.
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