March 31, 2007
Henderson's lawyer wants execution delayed
Judge to rule by Monday on request for woman convicted of killing
By Steven Kreytak, Austin American-Statesman
Cathy Lynn Henderson's lawyers were in court Friday asking a judge in Travis
County to delay her April execution to give them more time to file a final
Henderson, 50, is scheduled to be executed April 18 for killing 3-month-old
Brandon Baugh in 1994 at her Pflugerville-
Doctors testified at her 1995 trial that Brandon's severe skull injuries
could not have been caused by an accidental fall, as Henderson claimed.
Henderson's lawyer, George A. Cumming of San Francisco, told visiting state
District Judge Jon Wisser on Friday that recently developed science on head
trauma, melding the work of doctors with that of physicists and engineers,
will show that Brandon's death could have been an accident.
"This is new science," Cumming said. "It is very much like the DNA
equivalent in a head trauma case."
Cumming asked Wisser, who was the trial judge in the case, to vacate his
execution order or to delay it by 90 days to allow him to fully develop an
application for writ of habeas corpus requesting a new trial.
Wisser said he would rule Monday morning.
Prosecutors urged him to let the execution go ahead.
Travis County Assistant District Attorney Dayna Blazey criticized the work
of Dr. John Plunkett, a Minnesota forensic pathologist who Cumming said is
consulting on Henderson's case.
"He is quite well-known for his outlandish statements regarding . . . head
injuries in children," she said. "This is not any kind of newly discovered
evidence. . . . This is a newly discovered expert that they've discovered at
the 11th hour."
Henderson is one of 10 women on Texas' death row.
She was convicted after prosecutors argued that she deliberately slammed
Brandon's head against a flat surface with enough force to shatter the base
of his skull. Testimony at her trial showed that she stuffed the baby's body
into a wine cooler carton and buried him in a rural Bell County field before
fleeing to Missouri, her native state.
Henderson wasn't present at Friday's hearing, but several family members and
supporters were. On the other side of the room were Brandon's parents, Eryn
and Melissa Baugh. They left the courthouse before they could be asked for
Outside court, Henderson's 17-year-old daughter pleaded for her mother's
"I just hope that they open their eyes," said Jennifer Henderson of Round
Rock. "This is a person's life. You don't just decide whether to take
"Someone has got to realize that there's a possibility of it being an
Also at the hearing was Kathy List, whose husband, Fred, 80, died this month
when he was swept away by floodwaters in Georgetown. Henderson was Fred
List's former secretary, and he spent much of the time before his death
working to prove her innocence. The couple had visited Henderson in prison
"I know murder wasn't in this girl's heart," Kathy List said. "She's
Source : Austin American-Statesman