The San Antonio Four Exonerated
The 15 year battle to prove their innocence has finally ended.
After almost 15 years behind bars, the women known as the San Antonio Four have been exonerated and declared innocent.
In the late 1990s Elizabeth Ramirez, Kristie Mayhugh, Cassandra Rivera and Anna Vasquez were convicted of sexually assaulting Elizabeth’s 7-year-old and 9-year-old nieces. Their story of wrongful conviction is highlighted in Deborah Esquenazi’s documentary Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four.
The women’s sexuality is identified as a main motive for the witch hunt that was pursued in the '90s and ultimately led to their convictions. Due to their innocence, the women refused plea deals and testified in their defense during the trial.
In the recent decision to exonerate the women, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge David Newell wrote in the majority opinion, “Those defendants have won the right to proclaim to the citizens of Texas that they did not commit a crime. That they are innocent. That they deserve to be exonerated. These women have carried that burden. They are innocent. And they are exonerated.”
The decision was welcomed by the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, who originally prosecuted the case.
In a statement, District Attorney Nico LaHood said, “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. I pray for peace and a new beginning for them.”