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‘Junk science’ law exonerates woman of murder

November 12, 2016 at 3:50 PM EDT
A 68-year-old Texas woman, who in 1993 was convicted of murder by arson of her uncle, was found not guilty on Wednesday through a new ‘junk science’ law in Texas that reopens cases if there is new scientific evidence contradicting the conviction. Alison Stewart reports.

ALISON STEWART: This past April, we brought you the story of Sonia Cacy, a 68-year old Texas woman who in 1993 was convicted of the murder by arson of her uncle, Bill Richardson, and who has been in legal limbo for the past 17 years.

Cacy maintained her innocence through her trial and conviction, even after the case’s toxicologist produced evidence that her uncle had traces of gasoline on his clothes.

ALISON STEWART: Did you have anything to do with the fire that occurred on November 10, 1991?

SONIA CACY: No. I did not. I did not ever, anything. No.

ALISON STEWART: Later evidence found the toxicologist’s report was faulty and that the fire was started accidentally. Cacy was released from prison on parole, but was never exonerated and had to report to a parole officer once a month for 17 years.

SONIA CACY: It’s a big burden because you can’t even get a place to live. Everybody does your background. Where you’re living, where you’re gonna work.

ALISON STEWART: The Innocence Project of Texas filed a motion to reopen Cacy’s case under the “Junk Science Law”, a new law in Texas that makes it possible to appeal a case if there is scientific evidence that was not available at the time of the conviction or there is new evidence that contradicts what was used to convict.

GARY UDASHEN: Sonia is a real, live example of somebody whose life was really destroyed based upon bad scientific testimony in court.

Last Wednesday, Texas’s Court of Criminal Appeals found Cacy not guilty of the death of her uncle, fulfilling her dearest wish for her and her family.

SONIA CACY: My hopes for the future are to get everything like this over with and to be exonerated before I die, and it would be really nice for my children.