Timeline: Austin Yogurt Shop
please note: this timeline is a timeline of the legal matters surrounding this case. For greater treatment of the victims of this case, we recommend Murdered Innocents by Corey Mitchell.
Dec. 6, 1991
Shortly before midnight, a patrolling police officer called in a fire at the I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt located at 2949 W. Anderson Lane in Austin, TX. After entering the locked building, the firemen discovered four teen girls. Amy Ayers, age 13, had been shot twice and was barely alive. She would later die. The bodies of 17-year-old Jennifer Harbison, her 15-year-old sister Sarah, and 17-year-old Eliza Thomas were found nearby, with two stacked on top of each other and the other next to them.
Dec. 14, 1991
Maurice Pierce, age 16, was arrested carrying a loaded .22-caliber gun at Northcross Shopping Mall, about a half a mile from the yogurt shop. With him was 15-year-old Forrest Welborn. They were both questioned by police about the yogurt shop murders. The names of 17-year-old Robert Springsteen and his roommate Michael Scott, also 17, came up.
Dec 15, 1991
Robert Springsteen and Michael Scott were questioned by police and denied involvement in the murders. This lead, like all the others, did not end with any answers.
1998/1999 (reports vary)
A task force was appointed to continue the investigation into the murders.
September 9, 10, 12, 13, and 14, 1999
Scott was interviewed repeatedly by investigators. He gave an 8 page written confession on the last day.
September 15, 1999
Springsteen gave a verbal confession after 5 hours of questioning.
October 16, 1999
Springsteen, Scott, Maurice Pierce, and Forrest Welborn were arrested on capital murder charges.
Dec 14, 1999
Springsteen was indicted.
Dec 18, 1999
Scott and Pierce were indicted.
June 30, 2000
a judge dismissed all charges against Forrest Welborn after a second grand jury failed to indict him.
Springsteen’s trial occurred. He was found guilty and sentenced to death by lethal injection.
Scott’s trial occurred. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Jan 28 2003
Charges against Pierce were dropped for lack of evidence to proceed to trial. He was released after nearly 3 and a half years in prison.
March 1, 2005
The Supreme Court ruled in Roper v. Simmons that no one convicted of a crime that occurred before they were 18 years old could be given the death penalty. This ruling reduced Springsteen's sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Springsteen’s conviction was overturned due to a violation of his 6th amendment right to face his accuser.
Scott’s conviction was overturned due to a violation of his 6th amendment right to face his accuser.
Springsteen petitioned to have the DNA from the scene tested. It did not match Robert Springsteen, Michael Scott, or the other two suspects.
June 24, 2009
Springsteen and Scott were released from jail after the DA requested more time before starting the retrials.
Oct. 28, 2009
The DA announced that all charges against Springsteen and Scott were being dropped.
Dec 23, 2010
Maurice Pierce was pulled over by police for running a stop sign. A short foot pursuit followed. While attempting to subdue Pierce, who had reported to friends and family that he believed the police were targeting him, Pierce pulled a knife from an officer’s belt. He cut the officer across the neck, and the officer shot Pierce. Pierce again tried to run away and was found deceased a short distance away.
Currently, all three surviving suspects are free. Robert Springsteen has begun proceedings for a legal declaration of actual innocence. No additional suspects have been named. The case remains open.