"Junk Science" Bill Could Overturn Fort Stockton Woman's Murder Conviction

"Junk Science" Bill Could Overturn Fort Stockton Woman's Murder Conviction

By Alicia Neaves

NewsWest 9

PECOS COUNTY - The Innocence Project of Texas is trying to prove a Fort Stockton woman didn't kill her uncle. The murder happened more than 20 years ago.

Sonia Cacy of Fort Stockton was convicted of murdering her uncle during the early morning of November 10, 1991. She is currently out on parole. But one non-profit is led to believe she is innocent. Why? Something the state calls "bad science."

"There's a whole variety of bad science issues that are floating around in the courts right now and we're heavily involved in reviewing these old cases," Gary Udashen, President of the Innocence Project of Texas, said.

The Innocence Project of Texas is presenting evidence to the court in Pecos County, with the support of several witnesses, that could overturn Sonia Cacy's conviction of murdering her uncle, William Richardson.

"She was very close with him, lived with him off and on for her whole life and she was accused of murdering him by pouring gasoline on him and setting him on fire," Udashen said.

Evidence presented by the state was a claim made by the Bexar County lab, who was helping work on the case. They claim there was gasoline on Richardson's clothes.

Sonia Cacy's case is one of the first to call upon what's called the "Junk Science" Bill. It passed in the Texas legislature in 2013. It allows cases to be reopened on flawed forensic evidence science grounds.

"We have affidavits from about 15 of the leading fire experts from throughout the country that have looked at the lab testing on this case and said there was absolutely no gasoline on the clothing, so there is no crime, there is no murder," Udashen said.

In a statewide arson case review by the State Fire Marshal's Office, they found the likely cause of death of Richardson was sudden cardiac death.

The Innocence Project of Texas held its first of two hearings Monday afternoon. They will resume Tuesday in Pecos County where the judge will review the information before it's sent to Austin. It might take several months before a final decision is made.