Texas: “San Antonio Four” Exonerated after Two Decades
In 1997, Elizabeth Ramirez, Kristie Mayhugh, Cassandra Rivera and Anna Vasquez were convicted of sexually assaulting two young girls. The women came to be known as the “San Antonio Four.”
With help from the Innocence Project of Texas, all four were eventually exonerated. Rivera had been paroled in 2012 but the other women were released on bail in 2013 after new evidence came to light. According to a November 23, 2016 ruling by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, “They are innocent. And they are exonerated. This court grants them the relief they seek.” See: Ex parte Mayhugh, 2016 Tex. Crim. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1057 (Tex. Crim. App. 2016).
“I still can’t grasp the fact of just being free, finally, after all this time,” said Ramirez. “Unbelievable. It’s been a long time coming, 22 years now,” Vasquez added. “I called my mom, my family, and we’re just filled with joy today. We’re so thankful,” stated Rivera.
District Attorney Nico LaHood said of the ruling, “It has been a long legal process for these women and our office has worked with the defense to ensure justice was done in this case. With today’s announcement, we believe the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals’ decision did that. The court’s opinion has exonerated the women and their convictions are overturned. Today’s ruling prevents any further prosecution of these cases. I pray peace and a new beginning for them.”
Of course, it was state prosecutors who helped convict the four innocent women and send them to prison in the first place.
Sources: www.cnn.com, www.ksat.com