Yogurt Shop Murders

POV=May 2008
citationstyle=August 2008
refimprove=August 2008
orphan=August 2008

The Yogurt Shop Murders was a case involving the murder of four teenage girls in a local yogurt shop in Austin, Texas. The murders occurred on December 6, 1991 where the shop was then set aflame. The bodies of Amy Ayres (13), Jennifer Harbison (17), Sarah Harbison (15) and Eliza Thomas (17) were subsequently discovered that night.

The Murders

A bit before midnight on December 6, 1991, an Austin patrolling officer noticed a fire coming from an I Can't Believe It's Yogurt! shop and reported it to dispatch. After the fire was extinguished, the firefighters came upon four bodies, all of which were bound and gagged, with three stacked on top of one another. Each victim had been shot in the head, thus leading police to determine that they likely had died before the fire was started. [http://www.truthinjustice.org/yogurt1.htm]

Just before the murders, the girls had been seen alive at the yogurt shop as late as 10pm. They had planned a sleepover for that very night. [http://www.news8austin.com/content/special_coverage/yogurt_shop_timeline/]

At the time of the murders, a known serial killer, Kenneth Allen McDuff, was operating in the area and is known to have abducted and murdered Colleen Reed at a South Austin car wash on December 29, 1991. Despite the fact that McDuff had a history of multiple murders involving teenagers, Austin Police claimed he had been ruled out of the Yogurt Shop Murders [1]


Despite extensive media coverage and leads, the case remained unsolved for nearly eight years. A confession in 1992 by two Mexican nationals held by Mexican authorities generated intense coverage, but was soon exposed as false. On October 6, 1999, police in Texas and West Virginia arrested four suspects in connection with the murders. Robert Burns Springsteen Jr., 24, was arrested in Charleston, West Virginia. Michael James Scott, 25, of Buda, Texas was arrested in the Austin area. Maurice Pierce, 24, was arrested in Lewisville, north of Dallas, and Forrest Wellborn, 23, was picked up in Lockhart, Texas, southeast of Austin.

Current Events

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ordered the Travis County district court to retry the case, almost 16 years after the murders. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the Texas high court's ruling in February 2007.


Robert Springsteen's father maintains a website, [http://www.texas-justice.com/] , attesting to the innocence of all four young men. Former Texas Assistant Attorney General Erik Moebius has been published with his version of the events at the yogurt shop. [http://www.mackwhite.com/Yogurt1.html] , [http://www.mackwhite.com/yogurt2.html] . Amy Ayres' mother maintains that the case remains unsolved. [http://www.pomc.org/amyayers.cfm]


*cite web |url=http://www.lubbockonline.com/stories/051101/upd_075-2337.shtml |title=More testimony expected in yogurt shop murder trial |publication=Lubbock Avalanche-Journal |date=2001-05-11 |accessdate=2008-08-25
*cite web |url=http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/08/21/0821yogurt.html?cxtype=rss&cxsvc=7&cxcat=52 |title=Yogurt shop suspects' lawyers want more tests |last=Kreytak |first=Steven |publication=Austin American Statesman |date=2008-08-21 |accessdate=2008-08-25

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