Texas judge dismisses murder charge against babysitter who served 15 years over toddler’s death
Aug 7, 2023, 3:55 PM
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas judge dismissed a murder charge on Monday against a babysitter who served 15 years in prison after being convicted in the death of a toddler who choked on a wad of paper towels, which medical experts later concluded was the result of an accident and not intentional.
Rosa Jimenez has been out of prison since 2021 after a judge ruled that a new trial was warranted at a minimum. Earlier this year, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that “false testimony” in her original 2005 trial entitled her to relief.
That led to State District Judge Karen Sage granting a request on Monday to dismiss the original charges against Jimenez, who was babysitting 21-month-old Bryan Gutierrez when he choked and died in 2003.
“For the past 20 years, she has fought for this day, her freedom, and to be reunited with her children,” said Vanessa Potkin, director of special litigation at the Innocence Project and Jimenez’s attorney.
Jimenez had been sentenced to 99 years in prison. In 2020, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed to keep Jimenez in prison after a federal judge ordered that she receive a new trial or be released.
Jimenez was released on bond the following year after three pediatric airway specialists testified that the babysitter could not have forced the clump of towels down the boy’s throat, as prosecutors alleged in her original trial. Prosecutors also filed documents stating one of the experts who testified in the 2005 trial changed their opinion after reviewing new statements from airway experts.