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Judge Recommends 'San Antonio Four' Get New Trials

State District Court Judge Pat Priest recommended today that the "San Antonio Four' be granted new trials on charges they sexually assaulted two girls in 1994.

Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Anna Vasquez, and Kristie Mayhugh were convicted of aggravated sexual assault and each served more than 10 years in prison. The accusations included claims of satanic ritual sexual abuse with a 7-year-old and 9-year-old.  

Since the women's convictions, the chief forensic evidence against them has been discredited and one of the two girls would later recant her testimony saying the crime had never taken place. 

All of the women have been released.

Today's recommendation goes on to the Court of Criminal Appeals who will reject or implement Priest's recommendation.

If the court orders a new trial, Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood will then decide whether or not to pursue it. "Most likely there will not be a pursuit of this case," he says. 

LaHood says the case as he sees it now is not a strong one. "If that case was before us now, understanding all the evidence available to us, the new science and then new evaluations of the science on the girls at the time, we would have had a tremendous reservation of pursuing these cases any ways."

Full exoneration would still require other legal actions for the women.

Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive