More than 10 years after four San Antonio women (Elizabeth Ramirez, Kristie Mayhugh, Anna Vasquez, and Cassandra Rivera) were convicted of multiple counts of sexual abuse, based largely on junk medical science, three of those women are expected to be released on bail. The fourth was paroled last year. The women, known as the San Antonio Four, Elizabeth Ramirez, Kristie Mayhugh, Anna Vasquez, and Cassandra Rivera were charged with molesting two young girls. They refused to plead guilty in a plea deal, but after multiple trials in 1997 and 1998, they were all convicted. The district attorney and a lawyer representing the women struck a deal to release them. Prosecutors agree with the defense that the medical testimony used in the original trials wouldn’t stand up in court anymore.
The Innocence Project of Texas, which has been representing women since 2010, joined with the National Center for Reason and Justice, who recently presented medical testimony that discredits the original prosecution testimony at trial. In addition one of the alleged victims, who was 7 at the time, has since stated that the women never abused her and that her testimony to the jury was false.
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, Mayhugh, and Rivera, who have all been in prison for 15 years. Anna Vasquez, now 37, spent 13 years in jail before getting parole in 2012.
She told KENS5, “We were charged and convicted and I was still in doubt…I could not believe that this has happened…It’s a huge injustice to us, we had many years taken away from us…I was in shock, disbelief.”
This new forensic appeal was made possible by Texas’ new Senate Bill 344, which gives convicted inmates the chance to appeal based upon outdated or “junk” science. The San Antonio Four have always maintained their innocence.