November 19, 2004
Paging Charles Soechting

Good damn question, from Mark Kleiman.


Is anyone rallying the law enforcement folks behind Ronnie Earle?

I've only met him at a few conferences, but I know his reputation, and he rates about as high on professionalism as any D.A. in the country. But that doesn't mean that Earle won't get spattered by the current slime-and-defend if people don't speak out for him.


Anyone want to address that?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 19, 2004 to Scandalized! | TrackBack
Comments

Media matters has a nice collection of quotes from media who have been complicit in DeLay's attempts to slander Earle's reputation:

http://mediamatters.org/items/200411180003

I'd love it if more people would join me in writing letters to these media outlets...here's some sample text you can use:

This assertion is unfair and should be corrected. Your viewers deserve a more accurate portrayal of our D.A.

Earle's focus as D.A. has been on reducing crime, not implicating politicians. During his tenure, Travis County has enjoyed a 34 percent drop in juvenile crime since 1995, 49 percent drop in the
murder rate since 1991(now the 2nd lowest in the country), and 31 percent drop in auto theft since 1997. We now have the lowest crime rate ever seen in Travis County since 1980. Under Earle, the Travis County D.A.'s office was named one of the ten model offices in the country by the National District Attorneys' Association.

Eleven of the 15 politicians Earle has prosecuted over the years were Democrats. The idea that Earle is on a "political witch hunt" is being propagated by those who stand to gain from stigmatizing our D.A. to the detriment of those of us who are thankful to live in the community he serves...

Posted by: sarah on November 19, 2004 1:09 PM

I'd be interested to know what your source is for the crime rate data you cite. The data i've found do not bear out what you're saying, although the data also does not directly contradict you, except in one respect: according the Texas DPS, the crime rate per 100,000 residents for Travis County in 1999 was 2,506, while it was 4,466 in 2003. Thus, i do not see how it could be possible for the most recent crime rate to be the lowest since 1980, as you assert.

This change from 1999 to 2003 ought to be alarming for residents of Travis County, and reflects Ronnie Earle's dereliction of his duties as DA, in favor of glory hounding. For the state as a whole, the crime rate per 100,000 residents in 1999 was 5,035, and was 5,144 in 2003. Thus, Travis County's crime rate increased dramatically more than the state as a whole during this period.


Ronnie Earle is an unstable, egomaniacal, glory-seeking man. He exercises poor judgment in a bipartisan manner, as demonstrated by his performance in the Hutchison case, the Yogurt Shop murders, and his charging of this 11 year old girl, and now his pursuit of Tom DeLay. I guess the voters of Travis County get what they deserve, however.

Look for the lege to lighten Earle's load in the next term.

Posted by: abelard on November 22, 2004 1:22 PM

Ronnie Earl has a cozy relationship with Roy Minton Jr. see www.texas-justice.com. Their combined effort placed two innocent young men on death row and life in prison.

Earl's prosecution of democrats is a false trail. The prosecution of Tom DeLay will most likely be overturned on appeal. Robert Springsteen will be executed and the Yogurt Shop Murders case will be officially closed.

Here is the real story:

The Yogurt Shop Murders
by Mack White

NOTE: The opinions expressed in the following article are those of the interviewee, Erik Moebius, and not necessarily of the staff and management of this site. For legal reasons, certain names have been deleted from the article.

On December 6, 1991, firefighters responded to a fire at the I Can't Believe It's Yogurt shop in North Austin. Inside, they found the burned bodies of four young women--Sarah Harbison, 15; Jennifer Harbison, 17; Eliza Thomas, 17; and Amy Ayers, 13.

The four girls had each been shot in the back of the head, and their bodies burned.

Firemen were sworn to secrecy regarding the details of the crime scene. However, in an Austin American-Statesman story, firemen reported that when they entered the shop they found the bodies of three of the girls piled atop one another. The fourth victim, Amy Ayers, was found in another part of the shop a half hour later. The significance of this will become apparent later.

The murders shocked Austin to the core and drew national attention. The Austin Police Department set up a special unit to investigate the murders. Yet, over the years, this investigation--or lack of one--would cause considerable controversy.

Early in the investigation, it came to light that Homicide Detective Hector Polanco brutally beat a suspect in the case, in an attempt to get a confession. Then it began to emerge that detectives were using the yogurt shop case as an excuse to harrass and persecute the Austin counter-culture, in particular the "Goths," young people known for their dark clothes and occult interests. This, of course, was a complete investigative dead end.

Then, in the summer of 1992, the yogurt shop investigation began to focus on three men: Carlos Saavedra, Alberto Cortez and Ricardo Hernandez. Authorities located and arrested Saavedra and Cortez in Mexico in October 1992. According to the Mexican police, Saavedra confessed to the November 1991 rape of an Austin woman, as well as to the yogurt shop murders.

According to the confession, Saavedra said he attempted to rob the yogurt shop, but when one of the women recognized him, he raped and shot them. He also said he did the crime alone while his friends waited outside in a car.

However, Saavedra soon recanted the confession, telling reporters it had been coerced. The interrogation, it seems, had involved the use of a Coke bottle filled with water and cayenne pepper, which was poured down Saavedra's nose until he "confessed." Saavedra denied any knowledge of who killed the girls.

Over time, the investigation shifted away from the Latino men to Michael Pierce, Forest Welborn, Robert Burns Springsteen, Jr. and Michael James Scott. On September 14, 1999, police took a written confession from Scott in which he stated that he, Pierce, Springsteen, and Welborn had murdered the girls.

Eventually, Pierce, Burns, and Springsteen were indicted by a Grand Jury. To date, Welborn has not been indicted.

In April 2000, a .22 gun belonging to Pierce was tested by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) and found not to be the gun used in the yogurt shop murders.

Then, in June 2000, a photo of Scott's "confession" was made public. In the photo, Homicide Detective Robert Merrill can be seen holding a gun to Scott's head. Merrill denied threatening his life and claimed the confession was not coerced; however, under questioning, he smirkingly admitted that he had held a gun "in the proximity" of Scott's head and that this might be construed as coercion by most reasonable persons.

In August 2000, the Austin American-Statesman reported that DNA tests conducted by the Texas Department of Public Safety excluded the four suspects.

It has also been reported in the American-Statesman that a member of the Grand Jury which indicted the three men has written a letter to Judge Michael Lynch asking to have the prosecution investigated. Recent news reports, she said, have caused her to question whether or not the indictments were "obtained by deception or withholding of evidence."

Also, Robert Springsteen, Sr., father of one of the suspects, reported on his website that three more Grand Jury members have expressed similar doubts about the indictment process to Judge Lynch. To date, the aptly named judge has not seen fit to initiate an investigation.

Moebius believes the prosecution of these young men was intended to be an easy one. It has begun to unravel, he says, due to his and others' efforts to persuade the suspects to get rid of their court-appointed lawyerslawyers he alleges were under the control of a prominent Austin lawyer, hereafter referred to as "Lawyer M"--the man Moebius believes instigated the murders and coverup.

The Autopsy Reports

Shortly after the murders occurred, the autopsy reports of the women were sealed. According to Erik Moebius, a former Assistant Attorney General of the State of Texas who has conducted an independent investigation of the yogurt shop case for the past several years, these reports should not have been sealed in the first place.

In an interview with this writer, Moebius stated: "Autopsies are public documents. By law, they must be made public. I have since talked to the coroner who conducted the autopsies. He was shocked to discover that his autopsies had never been released to the public. As he told me, 'Those are public documents! They can't order them sealed!'"

Moebius believes the autopsy reports were sealed to cover up involvement of a police officer in the murders. He has also alleged in numerous interviews and articles available on the Internet that the murders were part of a criminal scheme called "insurance reserve fraud."

Recently, the Austin American-Statesmansuccessfully sued to have the autopsy reports unsealed. However, the details of these reports have not been made public--until now.

Moebius supplied this writer with copies of the autopsy reports. Following is a summary. It is grim reading, but necessary for an understanding of what happened in the yogurt shop that night.

Sarah Harbison's nude body was found gagged and with her hands bound behind her back with a pair of panties. Her body was severely charred, and there was an abrasion in the upper portion of the vulva and the vagina. She had been shot through the back of the head. A .22 lead bullet was recovered from her brain.

Jennifer Harbison's nude body was not bound, but her body was found with her hands behind her back. Her body was severely charred, and she had been shot through the back of the head. A .22 lead bullet was recovered from her brain.

Eliza Thomas' nude body was gagged and her hands bound behind her back with a brassiere. Her body was severely charred, and she had been shot through the back of the head. A .22 lead bullet was recovered from her brain.

Amy Ayers's nude body was found with "a sock-like cloth material wrapped around her neck with a half hitch in the back." Her body was not severely charred, but covered in second and "very early" third degree burns over 25 to 30 percent of its surface. She had been shot through the back of the head with the same .22 caliber gun used on the other girls, but the bullet did not enter the brain. However, a second gunshot of a caliber not specified in the report caused severe damage to the brain. This bullet exited the right lateral cheek and jaw area. No mention is made in the report whether or not this second bullet was recovered from the crime scene. Moebius contends that the damage caused by this bullet is consistent with that of a police-issue .38 caliber pistol.

Whereas the cause of death for each of the other girls was determined by the coroner to be a .22 gunshot wound to the back of the head, the cause of death for Ayers was listed as "a result of gunshot wounds of the head (2) and asphyxia due to ligature strangulation."

Also, unlike the other girls, Ayers' fingernails were cut for examination purposes, and fingerprints taken.

What is the significance of all these ugly details? Erik Moebius interprets them as follows:

All four girls were shot one by one in the back of the head by a .22 gun. This low caliber weapon was evidently chosen for its relative low sound.

Three of the girlsthe Harbison sisters and Thomasdied upon being shot. However, when the .22 bullet struck Ayers' brain, it did not penetrate deeply enough to kill her, thus necessitating the attempt to strangle her.

Believing Ayers to be dead, the killers placed her body in a pile with the other bodies. The autopsy reports reveal an enormously high BTU output from the accelerant, indicating the probable use of gasoline to burn the bodies. With the fire about to consume the shop, the killers then departed the scene.

Ayers, however, was still not dead. Pulling her 110-pound frame out of the pile of bodies, she managed to crawl away to another area of the blazing shop, where it was discovered by firemen a full half hour after their arrival at the shop.

Moebius contends that the discovery of her body, still alive when firemen arrived, necessitated a clean-up operation.

"Only a cop could have gotten in there," says Moebius. He theorizes that the firemen may have been ordered away from the scene to allow a police officer to shoot Ayers in the head with a .38 revolver. The gun's report could have been explained away as a small explosion inside the still burning shop. (See NOTE 1 at the end of this article.)

Insurance Reserve Fraud

Erik Moebius has practiced law for over 20 years. He was an Assistant District Attorney of Bexar County in San Antonio from 1979 to 1980, and an Assistant Attorney General of Texas from 1983 to 1988.

In 1994 Moebius was disbarredan action he says was initiated by [Lawyer M] in retaliation for Moebius' refusal to stop representing clients who had been victimized by "insurance reserve fraud." Moebius alleges that [Lawyer M] is a practitioner of this type of fraud, of which the yogurt shop murders are only one example.

Moebius explains that insurance companies keep a certain amount of money in reserve for catastrophic death claims. Normally, if there is no such claim, this money is rebated at the end of year to the policy holders. But, in a reserve fraud scheme, the insurance company, in collusion with other parties, intentionally creates a catastrophic death claim. The rightful recipient of the claim, however, never sees the money; without their knowledge, the person is "separated" from the claim, with the money instead going elsewhere to be laundered. In this way, a few million dollars can be turned into many more millions of dollarshence the high profit motive for those participating in reserve fraud.

An example of how a person can be separated from a claim, cited by Moebius, is the case of Herman Garcia, who was injured in a head-on collision in a highway construction zone in the 1980s. Herman was removed from the construction zone by air ambulance and flown to Brackenridge Hospital, where he lay in a coma. Garcia's mother says that, within days of his arrival at Brackenridge, a hospital administrator recommended Austin attorney Michael A. Wash to her.

Mrs. Garcia: "At first, no one knew if Herman was going to live. Within days, Herman stabilized, although he remained in a coma. It was then that this administrator called me into her office. She gave me her business card with Michael Wash's name written on it. I still have the card in my wallet. She told me, 'The other side already has two attorneys, you need one now. Here is a good one.' She handed me her business card with the attorney's name written on the back. Then she demanded that I call the attorney right away. She even told me where a pay phone was down the hall. I did as she told me. What did I know?"

In January 1991, Mrs. Garcia says, Wash fraudulently told her that her son no longer had a viable claim relating to his severe brain injury. At the same meeting, he instructed her to sign additional contracts on her grandchildren's derivative claims related to her son's permanent injury.

Moebius: "At the moment her attorney instructed Mrs. Garcia that her son no longer had a claim, she believed him. A more experienced individual would have immediately recognized the contradiction. If the attorney was telling Mrs. Garcia the truth about her son's claims, if her son's claims were in fact extinguished, then the grandchildren's derivative claims would likewise be extinguished. Yet at the same moment her attorney took contracts from Mrs. Garcia on the grandchildren's derivative claims, he told her that her son's claims were extinguished."

One month later, Mrs. Garcia discovered that within days of being told her son no longer had a claim, her attorney and the attorney and adjuster for Nationwide Insurance covertly perfected an appeal on her claim, consummated a "settlement" of all her claims, including the children's derivative claims, then canceled the appeal that had just perfected.

"This activity," says Moebius, "took place on claims that Mrs. Garcia had been led to believe were extinguished. Mrs. Garcia was shocked and distressed to learn that her attorney had somehow separated her from her claims and then allowed third parties to make use of her claims, all without her knowledge or permission. Even more distressing, Nationwide and another carrier had issued checks to her former attorney with all moneys going from Nationwide's accounts to third parties unknown to her. Mrs. Garcia, believing that her claims were extinguished, never received a dime."

Mrs. Garcia sought out Moebius in February 1991. Moebius agreed to bring suit on her behalf, naming Nationwide, Nationwide's attorney and adjuster, and Mrs. Garcia's former attorney as defendants.

"In effect," says Moebius, "after Mrs. Garcia's son was injured on the site or premises of a construction zone, and after Mrs. Garcia's attorney brought suit ostensibly on her behalf, Mrs. Garcia was fraudulently separated from her claims. Mrs. Garcia's logical assumption was that only she could make use of those claims. However, she discovered she was wrong. Her claims were used post separation by third parties to transfer moneys from the insurance company's reserve account to her attorney's trust account. In short, all moneys that moved from one account to the other moved through her claims unreported--and tax free!"

Moebius says it was at first hard to understand how third parties could launder or move funds from one account to another through Mrs. Garcia's claims, all without her knowledge or permission. "Because the account to account transfer was accomplished through the covert and unauthorized use of Mrs. Garcia's personal injury claims," he says, "the account to account transfer was a non-taxable transfer. This one aspect--the fact that the account to account transfer was non-taxable and done through the agency of an attorney--is unique to personal injury and wrongful death claims and makes such transfers ideal for money laundering."

Even more troubling to Moebius was the possibility that a person could be intentionally injured or murdered on a specific site with the motive being the creation and pirating of a wrongful death claim or personal injury claim in order to launder money.

Moebius says this is more than a possibility; he cites the death of Diana Havner in an E-Z Mart Store in Sulphur Springs, Texas, as an example of murder perpetrated intentionally to generate a "site specific" death claim.

Within days of a new owner purchasing the E-Z Mart store, Moebius says, the silent alarm system was removed, the phone was altered so that out-going calls could not be made, and signs were placed over the windows. Also, a check cashing service was added, which increased the amount of money on the premises. Simultaneously, the drop safes were removed. Moebius says these changes increased security for the murderer, while at the same time making it likely that the murder of any employee on the site would be credited to the motive of robbery.

"Four months after buying the store," says Moebius, "a period of time that may have been used to conduct the temporary placement of money inside the participating 'host' carriers (called 'lag time'), Diana Havner was abducted, raped, and murdered. Once she was murdered, her death claim on the specific site had been created. Because she had two children, additional derivative claims were likewise produced, creating a total of three personal injury, site specific death claims.'"

In addition to Mrs. Garcia, Moebius also represented the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). In the early 1990s, LULAC had noticed a statewide pattern of reserve fraud--specifically, severe injury cases including murder and arson in which people were intentionally injured, murdered or burned on pre-selected premises with the intent of creating personal injury claims. The claimants were often "separated" from their claims by attorney fraud or court action, in the same manner as Mrs. Garcia had been. More often than not, the victims were Latino--hence LULAC's involvement in the matter.

"Notably," says Moebius, "their claims were left open and susceptible to covert settlements, like the covert settlement Mrs. Garcia experienced. In other words, the plaintiffs would be artificially and fraudulently forced into a 'loss' but the defendants would not gain an outright win. Nor would the defendants complain about the denial of an outright win, even when an outright win was a mandatory legal consequence of the court's ruling against the plaintiff. The fact that a defendant would refuse to seek an all-out win even when it was his right, suggested that other motives were dominating the proceedings."

Moebius says he was never permitted to try Mrs. Garcia's case, or even to get the deposition of Nationwide's lawyer. Nor was he ever permitted to file interrogatories and requests for production on either party. 'This was a remarkable achievement for my antagonists," he says," considering the fact that in the intervening three years, I had gone through two state courts and two federal courts seeking to do just that. At one point, less than three months after the girls were murdered, Jonathan Cluck, the attorney for Nationwide, told me that 'all hell will break loose' if I was ever permitted to take his deposition. By January 1994, I had served over 18 separate notices to depose Jonathan Cluck, Nationwide's lawyer. Each and every judge denied me the depositions of these parties. The judges would either provide questionable reasons, refuse to give reasons or issue orders that no discovery could be conducted; instead, they denied me all discovery and assessed enormous sanctions against me."

These obstructions, he says, were all traceable to attorneys [Lawyer G] and [Lawyer M], who in this same time period were the defense lawyers in the yogurt shop case. In addition, Moebius says, [Lawyer M] and [Lawyer G] subjected him to non-stop 'preemptive' disbarments and attempted arrest activity, and even attempted unsuccessfully to try his wife for fraud on the grounds that she had helped him evade arrest. Furthermore, he alleges that [Lawyer M] has used blackmail to control the actions of numerous judges and other officials in Central Texas. (See NOTE 2 at the end of this article.)

This "highly unusual" intervention of [Lawyer G] and [Lawyer M] eventually lead Moebius to wonder if there was a connection between the yogurt shop case and the reserve fraud cases he was attempting to try. He also noticed that [Lawyer M] was often at the center of other suspicious cases.

For instance, Moebius implicates E--- G---, another developer represented by [Lawyer M], as the arsonist in another reserve fraud scheme, the Lost Creek Condominium fire which occurred in 1989 in Austin.

In an interview posted on the AntiShyster website, Moebius was asked, "Did G--- a get into financial problems prior to the fires, in the process of conducting development or land purchases in advance of the FM Properties development?"

Moebius answered, "G--- had just purchased the four corners of William Cannon and MoPac South, in the FM Properties development area of Austin for $2 million dollars when the bottom fell out of the Austin land market. . . . G--- had a call on his notes. On $400,000 worth of notes to be exact."

The date of the call was October 27, 1989-the same day as the four-dwelling "Lost Creek Condominium Fires."

In time, Moebius came to believe that reserve fraud, or the site-specific death scheme, is a very widespread practice, with international implications.

He writes: "FM Properties, an entity represented by [Lawyer M] of Austin, has experienced the murders of 26 of its employees in Indonesia, with all murders taking place on FM sites or being conducted in trucks or shipping containers owned by FM Properties. Even these murders can be 'insured' here in Texas, allowing money to be downloaded through death claims that take place half a world away."

The Yogurt Shop Murders

One important difference between the Garcia case and the yogurt shop case, contends Moebius, is that the latter did not involve a separation of the claim from the true owner. Instead, he says, a plaintiff had to have participated in the fraud.

In a previous interview posted on the AntiShyster.com website, Moebius stated that the stepfather of the Harbison sisters may have been such a participating plaintiff.

"If [he] was 'plaintiff participating,'" says Moebius, "he would allow the claims of the Harbison children, and even his claim and his wife's claim, to be used to launder enormous sums of reserve fraud moneys out of the reserve accounts held by the mutuals."

In Moebius' opinion, the stepfather's movements prior to the murders were highly suspicious. Moebius told this writer: "This murder was about betrayal and power. Minutes before the murder began, . . . the stepfather of two of the murder victims, dropped the youngest victims off at the site. In subsequent statements, [he] explained that the girls had been dropped off to help with the clean-up as they were on their way to a movie. There are no movies at that time in that area. (See NOTE 3 at the end of this article.) [He] subsequently stated that the two youngest were dropped at the site to help with the clean-up. Yet [he] dropped the two youngest off, turn around and left. If you bring two girls to the site to turn a ten-minute clean-up into a five-minute clean up, why leave? Not one of the parents were looking for their daughters that late Friday night. That is inconceivable to me. These murders took place after closing time on a Friday night. Nine times out of ten, it could be expected that parents, grandparents, brothers or sisters, someone would show up. And the use of multiple victims would grossly enhance that probability. All of these girls had parents."

Moebius continues: "At the outset, these appeared to be complicated murders. They appeared to have been grossly premeditated and carefully crafted. After all, they took place on a public site, immediately after closing time, on a Friday night, and consumed almost an hour. Two of the girls, the two youngest girls, were dropped of by . . . the stepfather of the two Harbison girls, moments before their murders began. And yet the murder scene suggested that their arrival had been anticipated. The murders of all four girls were "harmonious" in that they were all murdered in the same manner. The murders the two youngest girls did not seem to be an after thought. Their murders were easily integrated into the murder scheme as if all four murders had been planned. As if the delivery of the youngest two had always been part of the entire scheme."

As for the actual murderers of the girls, Moebius has this to say: "This site, this murder site was obviously the result of a cooperative effort. A viewing of the aspects of the site and the crime strongly suggest an extremely cooperative effort, one done with great planning. This is a significant aspect, for it is obvious that these murders were planned a long way out. These were grossly planned murders. That means that you have a murder site which tells you that there was a preexisting "cohort" or group of people, very presumably men and definitely mature men who have engaged in substantial criminal activity before. This murder was not accomplished by virgins or someone acting on the spur of the moment."

Moebius further contends that the girls knew their murderers, or at least one of them. He identifies an "unemployed gambler" as one likely suspecta man who "lived seemingly rent free in a condominium" behind the yogurt shop, and who "spent night and day for six months hanging out at the yogurt shop, building trust with the girls."

Moebius says this man moved out of his condominium the day after the murders, then one week later "showed up with $40,000 cash, according to his girlfriend and her mother." The girlfriend also noticed a marked change in Mike's behavior following the murders; after he threatened her life, she fled to Oklahoma.

Moebius also identifies a man he calls "Mike" as a probable accomplice in the murders. On two occasions when Moebius was a guest on the Joyce Isaacs Show on KVET Radio, Mike called in to the show and displayed an intimate knowledge of the crime scenefour years before the autopsy reports were released.

In a transcript of the program obtained by this writer, Mike also claims to have known the Harbison sisters' parents and to have worked as a driver for a limousine company which had been hired by Brice Foods, the company which owned the yogurt shop.

Brice Foods was the defendant in a 1999 fraud trial, which Moebius says threatened to unravel the yogurt shop case.

Moebius explains: "The [murder] site is simultaneously connected and associated with two conspiracies or cooperative crimes. The murder conspiracy and the massive Brice Foods investor fraud conspiracy. Nine months before these girls' murders, Brice Foods (the employer of two of the girls) began a massive swindle, a fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy (cooperative crime) which ran for years and resulted in the theft of $20 million in stolen investor funds. The Brice fraud was a hard hitting, lie in your face, massive swindle. And despite three lawsuits and one jury verdict specifically finding fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy, the money, all of the $20 million remains unaccounted for. The money has been successfully concealed. But, does this mean that the two conspiracies, the murder conspiracy and the investor conspiracy, are related? The initial answer has to be 'maybe.' Two massive criminal events involving the same site, conducted during the same time period by the same people, with the subsequent civil litigation (wrongful death and investor fraud) being populated by the same attorneys."

"[Lawyer R]," says Moebius, 'played a prominent role in the yogurt shop wrongful death case, supposedly obtaining a "settlement" of $12 million. [Lawyer R] also played an extremely prominent role in the Brice case as [Lawyer R] had his court reporter B--- B--- pose (pretend) to be an investor who was stung. Playing this role, B--- B--- contacted over 100 investors, asking all of them to join a suit that [Lawyer R] was filing on B---'s behalf, suing the Brices.

"[Lawyer R] then went on to lie to all of his 80 clients in order to get them to settle for pennies on the dollar. This settlement occurred within days of a jury returning with a fraud, conspiracy and securities fraud verdict in San Antonio against Brice's corporate officers on the Crescendo Investments v. Brice Foods case. And that jury verdict was issued on October 5, 1999. Within hours of the jury verdict coming down, Detective Paul Johnson announced that he had solved the Yogurt Shop murders and asked for the arrests of these four boys. So October 5, 1999 is an extremely important date. Of all the days, of all the almost 3000 days that had passed since these girls murders, APD chose the hour after a San Antonio jury convicted the Brice group of fraud. $20 million disappeared during the same time frame that the $12 million 'insurance' settlement appeared.

"And this so-called settlement has always been suspect. Extremely suspect. What insurance company pays for the criminal conduct of third parties? How was Brice Foods responsible? There was no 'murderer in hand.' As a result, no one act or omission could be identified as having 'caused' the murders. There is no insurance liability, no causation."

A Crime Against Humanity

"Murder is an intentional act," says Moebius. "As such, it has motive. And motive often determines the manner in which the murders were conducted. Motive determines the identity of the victims, the timing of the murders, the location of the murders, the manner in which the murders are accomplished. So understanding motive is essential to understanding the murders."

Can a murder have more than one motive?

"Yes," says Moebius "Complicated murders, murders in which money is the primary motive, grossly premeditated murders in which money is the primary motive, can have the additional appearance of extraneous motive. A sort of "ride along" motive or vanity motive that is designed to not only accomplish the primary, monetary motive, but also designed to reflect the craftsmanship of the murderer. Sort of a signature motive, something that tells the public at large something about the murderer."

So, not only does Moebius allege that the girls in the yogurt shop were murdered to create the appearance of a $12 million 'settlement,' he is also fairly certain that sexual sadism played a role in the crime.

"Why," he asks, "did the murderers and people setting up the murders of the Yogurt Shop girls stray from the normal 'no monkey business' approach and risk everything by spending so much time on the premises or site murdering these children? But for that indulgence, the children's murders would have been passed off as a 'normal negligence zone' event. Instead, it was immediately apparent that the murders were not walk in, walk out murders, which in and of itself suggested an inside job. Reports are plentiful in Austin that the firemen suffered extreme trauma from what they observed. If the overt presence of 'display' is in fact the case, then the co-motive of sexual sadism, being directed toward young females, is present. But for whom? A video camera? Visitors to the site?"

Moebius believes the girls may have been hired by the yogurt shop for their physical attractiveness. The yogurt shop, may have served as the backdrop to an elaborate setting where young women were displayed serving ice cream as an inducement to those whose money was being solicited for the money laundering scheme.

Moebius believes that [Lawyer M] is a sexual sadist and psychopath who, along with like-minded accomplices, staged the yogurt shop murders (and others) as much for the thrill as for monetary motive. He describes [Lawyer M] as someone who enjoys setting up murder scenarios in which the victim feels a betrayal of trust by someone close to them.

He is also, according to Moebius, addicted to the sense of power these murders give him--the power to destroy lives, the power to blackmail parents into letting him humiliate and murder their children, and the power to traumatize society with an unspeakable crime.

Moebius says, "These murders involved the premeditated murder of children. The slow, easy murder of children. The pleasurable murder of children. As such, these murders constitute a crime against humanity."

Summary

In 1988, two men, Chris Ochoa and Richard Danziger, were falsely convicted of the murder of Nancy DePriest in an Austin Pizza Hut. Twelve long years of imprisonment later (during which a prison beating left Danziger seriously brain damaged), DNA analysis vindicated the two men. At the time of his release, Ochoa stated that Hector Polanco (the homicide detective mentioned earlier) threatened him with Death Row if he did not confess to the crime and implicate Danziger. Polanco then dictated the confession to Ochoa, feeding him details to make it believable.

Another case is that of 12-year-old Lacresha Murray, who was falsely accused of murdering an infant she was babysitting. Using illegal interrogation tactics and a shoddy investigation by the county medical examiner, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle twice managed to convict the girl. However, after serving three years in an adult prison, she was recently released after a court ruled her interrogation by APD denied her the constitutional right to counsel.

Given this dismal history, we would have to wonder about the yogurt shop case even if we did not have a photograph of a detective holding a gun to the head of Michael Scott.

And these are just the cases we know about. How many other men and women are doing hard time in prison for crimes they never committed? How many have been put to death? And how many real murderers are still on the loose, due to the lack of any real investigation?

It is believed by Erik Moebius and others who know the yogurt shop case that the Austin police were paid off not to conduct an investigation, but rather to conduct a coverup.

I do not know if Moebius' allegations are true, but I do know they are more plausible than what has so far been presented by the District Attorney's office. Certainly, by their own misconduct in this case, these officials have left themselves wide open to charges of conspiracy and coverup. Thus, Moebius' allegations deserve serious investigation.

5/17/01 UPDATE: At this writing, Robert Springsteen Jr. is standing trial for the yogurt shop murders. On 5/14, his friend Roy Rose was jailed for contempt of court when he refused to testify. In a sworn AFFIDAVIT Rose described how he was coerced by Austin police into implicating Springsteen. Other witnesses have reported similar tactics by Austin police.

LINKS

FAMILY MEMBERS OF THE MEN ON TRIAL FOR THE YOGURT SHOP MURDERS

Law - The Letter vs. The Intent or What Is An Oath of Office Supposed to Mean by Robert Springsteen, Sr.

Letter to Texas Attorney General John Cornyn Here by Robert Springsteen, Sr.

An Open Letter to Elected Officials by the Family of Michael Pierce

Families, Friends Against Corrupt Law Enforcement

Sign the on-line petition.

Texas Justice

Website maintained by Robert Springsteen Sr.

ERIK MOEBIUS

A Preliminary Report on the Yogurt Shop Murders: Racketeering and Money Laundering Through Site Specific Death Claims by Erik Moebius -- David Icke E-Magazine

The Bar, Insurance Fraud and Murder by Erik Moebius -- Texas Justice

Interview with Erik Moebius -- AntiShyster

Alternate theory arises in yogurt shop case -- West Virginia Gazette

S.A. fraud case has `X-file' twist -- Conspiracy-theory court filing reveals strange coincidences -- San Antonio Business Journal

RELATED

People of the Heart

An Austin group advocating the release of Lacresha Murray, a 12-year-old girl falsely accused of murder and sentenced to 25 years. Using illegal interrogation tactics and a shoddy investigation by the county medical examiner, DA Ronnie Earle twice managed to convict Lacresha of killing an infant she was babysitting. However, after serving three years in prison, Lacresha was recently released again after a court ruled her interrogation by APD denied her the constitutional right to counsel.

Justice Denied: The Magazine for the Wrongly Convicted



This article Copyright 2003 by by Mack White. According to the author, the text on this page may be freely reproduced and distributed.

Posted by: Russ Hallberg Jr on November 20, 2005 6:59 PM