Family struggles to heal years after sitter kills son

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by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE News and photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on February 7, 2013 at 7:11 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 7 at 9:04 PM

AUSTIN --  Cathy Lynn Henderson was sentenced to death in 1995 for killing 3-month old Brandon Baugh. But the conviction was overturned in December and she was granted a new trial. Henderson was back in court Thursday for a pre-trial hearing.

Eryn and Melissa Baugh sat anxiously in the front row of Judge Karen Sage's courtroom in the Travis County Justice Complex Thursday morning. The routine hearing forces them to come face-to-face with the woman who killed their son Brandon.

"We're not doing very good today," Brandon's father Eryn said outside of the courtroom.

56-year-old Henderson entered the pre-trial hearing in her striped jail suit, carefully guarded by attorneys.

"Tomorrow would be the anniversary, the 19th, of whenever our son was discovered after he'd been murdered," Eryn said.

In January 1994, Henderson was babysitting Brandon in her home near Pflugerville.

Henderson said she accidentally dropped the baby, and in a panic, buried him in a wine cooler box outside of Waco. She then fled to Missouri.

The missing baby and his sitter captured headlines across America.

"I think about the future I was going to have with my son," Eryn said in 1994. "The future of playing football, and basketball and track. How we were going to go fishing and hunting?"

Police arrested Henderson 11 days later, a jury convicted her and sentenced her to death in 1995.

In 2007, days before her execution, new evidence was presented by the medical examiner. Scientific advances at that time determined the baby's head injuries might have been an accident.

Henderson was granted a new trial just last year.

"Almost two days to having this execution over with and having this thing put where we can begin our healing and now the wounds are back open again," Eryn said outside of the courtroom.

The family said the pain they felt 19 years ago is still here today.

"It's been a living hell," Eryn said. "You don't know what it's like to have your life put on hold for the last 19 years of wondering what's going on with the legal system, wondering do I need to be down in Austin, do I need to be at some hearing somewhere?"

"I think the biggest thing is just the confusion of why we're having to go through this again, starting completely over," Brandon's mother Melissa said.

Henderson will be back in court for another pre-trial hearing on March 8th.

It is not clear if the charge will be capital murder or if the death penalty will again be considered.

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