Robert Roberson is a victim of the ultimate injustice: he has already spent almost 20 years on Death Row and is the first person potentially set to be executed for the scientifically invalid ‘Medical diagnosis’ of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS).
Last updated: 21st July 2022
In 2003, the then 35-year-old Robert was sentenced to death on charges of allegedly murdering his two-year-old daughter, Nikki Curtis.
Despite the absence of any evidence of external bleeding or any internal injuries to the neck or skull, Nikki’s brain damage was linked to violent shaking and blunt force trauma, based on the increasingly debunked hypothesis of SBS.
In 2016, Robert’s execution was stayed based on his lawyer’s assertion that his conviction had been secured on this “false, misleading and scientifically invalid testimony” and he might not have been convicted if the jury had been aware of developments in the science that now debunks Shaken Baby Syndrome.
However, Robert remains on death row in Livingston, Texas, and maintains his strength through his faith, which has been a constant in his life, since childhood. He has taken many Bible study courses while on Death Row and hopes one day to open a ministry and teach others about the love of God.
The elected state trial court judge denied Robert a new trial after an evidentiary hearing in February. The case is now on appeal.
An amicus curiae brief was filed by the Center for Integrity in Forensic Sciences (CIFS) in April.
They told the court that Nikki’s death was “more likely” the result of a combination of accidental and natural causes including: “complications from undiagnosed interstitial viral pneumonia, exacerbated by prescription drugs, a history of breathing issues, and an injury sustained as the result of a short fall that could, in turn, have been caused by a combination of the pneumonia, drugs, and breathing issues.”
The CIFS concluded: “Mr Roberson’s conviction rests on scientific testimony and evidence that simply is no longer credible. In light of the erroneous nature of the SBS/AHT hypothesis, a new trial is warranted.”