AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Central Texas prosecutors have announced they will not seek the death penalty against a woman who won a retrial after previously being convicted of killing a 3-month-old child she was baby-sitting.
Cathy Lynn Henderson was just days away from execution in 2007 when a state appeals court halted her punishment for the early 1994 death of Brandon Baugh. The same court in December awarded the 56-year-old Henderson a new trial.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg said Monday Henderson will be retried for capital murder and faces a life sentence if convicted, the Austin American-Statesman reported (http://bit.ly/1b0ZPvD ).
"I just think it's best considering the evidence we have," Lehmberg said.
Henderson's lawyer, Jon Evans, declined to comment on Lehmberg's decision.
In a 2007 interview with The Associated Press from the state's female death row in Gatesville, Henderson said she was holding Brandon, trying to calm him down when he slipped out of her arms and fell on the floor of her home north of Austin.
Henderson said she performed CPR but didn't call 911. She then wrapped him in his blanket, stuffed him in a wine cooler box and fled north, burying him in a field 60 miles away. Then she drove to her native Missouri where she was later arrested.
At her trial, then medical examiner Roberto Bayardo testified it was "impossible" to attribute Brandon's head injury to an accidental fall.
But Bayardo recanted his testimony in 2007, saying advances in the understanding of pediatric head injuries found that relatively short falls onto a hard surface could produce injuries similar to those he discovered during Brandon's 1994 autopsy. Bayardo concluded he could not determine if the boy's injuries were the result of "an intentional act or an accidental fall."
Brandon's parents, Eryn and Melissa Baugh, said they were extremely disappointed by the prosecution's decision not to seek the death penalty at Henderson's retrial.
Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com