Texas 7th Court of Appeals overturns Spielbauer murder conviction

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Texas 7th Court of Appeals has overturned Jeremy Spielbauer’s 2018 murder conviction of his former wife Robin Spielbauer.

The Court of Appeals overturned the conviction of the 251st District Court in Randall County on the basis that trial court denied challenges to two members of the jury.

Randall County District Attorney, Robert Love, held a press conference Thursday regarding the reversal.

“This appeal being reversed is not about him being innocent it is not about there being insufficient evidence to prove his guilt. That was not addressed in the court opinion,” Love said. “I believed in 2018 when this office tried this case, that he was guilty of brutally murdering his wife and i still believe that today.”

Joe Marr Wilson, Jeremy Spielbauer’s trial attorney, said several jurors should have been disqualified immediately when jury selection began because they had already formed a conclusion that would influence their verdict.

“Many of those jurors continued to say things that would disqualify them, Wilson said. “Two of those jurors were talked into rescinding their answer by the state and so they did not get excused and so we get a limited number of of jury strikes to use later on for any reason. That ate into our number that we have and the judge refused to give us any extra. So by law, that’s that’s a procedural violation that that should be remedied.”

Love’s office released a statement on Thursday:

Our office has received the 7th Court of Appeals opinion regarding the murder conviction of Jeremy Spielbauer in 2018. I had the misfortune this morning of having to notify the parents of Robin Spielbauer, the victim, of the decision by the court. While we respectfully disagree with and are disappointed in the Court’s ruling, there is one thing I want to emphasize-this decision is not about whether there was sufficient evidence to convict Mr. Spielbauer or whether this court concluded that Mr. Spielbauer is innocent of the murder charge. This decision is about the technical, legal interpretation of two responses made by two prospective jurors during the jury selection portion of this trial. I believed before the trial, and I still believe today, that Jeremy Spielbauer brutally murdered his wife, Robin Spielbauer.

The Randall County District Attorney’s Office is prepared to take all legal steps necessary to uphold the murder conviction of Jeremy Spielbauer. Accordingly, we are in the process of evaluating the options available to us and identifying the most appropriate manner in which to proceed.

-Randall County District Attorney’s Office, Jeremy Spielbauer Appellate Opinion

Love said there is a process for bonding out, but Spielbauer is in custody for the time being.

The 7th Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for Spielbauer.

Love said there are still some appellate options for the prosecution. Whether Jeremy Spielbauer’s case heads back to the 7th Circuit in Amarillo or the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin. Although, Love said right now, a re-trial is still far off.

Wilson said whether the case heads back to the 7th circuit or the Texas high court, it might be harder on everyone involved.

“Even if they think they might have some success at the court of criminal appeals or at least that it’s a possibility, if they do that, and the court of criminal appeals does not agree with them, that adds an even longer period of time before they can retry Mr. Spielbauer and that might not be good for their case,” Wilson added. “It certainly wouldn’t be good probably for anyone involved in the case. So they might make a decision. It’s just better toward a retrial and do it again.”

The 7th Circuit also overturned Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon’s murder conviction in December of 2018.

RELATED: Texas high court rules Dr. Dixon murder-for-hire conviction erroneously tossed out

Wilson said it is odd that this court would overturn two murder convictions because it happens in Texas so rarely.

History

Jeremy Spielbauer was found guilty of the 2014 murder of his ex-wife and was sentenced to life in prison. The case gained national attention due to the nature of the story.

Robin was found dead in a field next to her car near Helium Road in April of 2014. Three days later, Jeremy Spielbauer’s then-wife, Katie Phipps (then Spielbauer), was arrested for Robin’s murder because Katie’s pink gun was the murder weapon.

Investigators believed Phipps murdered Robin because she thought Jeremy and Robin were having an affair. Phipps was indicted for Capital Murder in September 2014.

Phipps was arrested and jailed for 15 months before cell phone forensics experts ruled her out as a suspect. Her charges were dropped in July of 2015.

After Phipps was released, Spielbauer became the suspect after evidence showed he was near the crime scene at the time of the murder.

Jeremy Spielbauer was indicted by a grand jury on Capital Murder charges back in April of 2016. He was found guilty of the lesser charge of murder on Jan. 25, 2018, nearly two years ago.

Click here to read the 7th Court of Appeals opinion.

Timeline

This is a developing story. Stay with MyHighPlains.com for the latest.


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