AUSTIN, TX (KTRE)
Citing the trial court's error in a jury charge, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has sent the case of a Lufkin serial killer back to circuit court.
The court's ruling states the Angelina County district court erred in allowing jurors to convict without unanimously agreeing on which specific victims were murdered by Kimberly Clark Saenz, 41.
The opinion, which was written by Judge Paul Womack, states the trial court's error must be analyzed for "egregious harm."
The Fourth Court of Appeals upheld Saenz's conviction in January.
A jury ruled Saenz guilty of capital murder following a lengthy trial in April 2012. She was accused of five murders in 2008. Lufkin police say she killed the kidney dialysis patients by injecting bleach into their bloodstream, while she worked at Davita as a nurse.
"They had to find her guilty of who she specifically killed and the way it was worded was not specific enough," said Saenz's trial attorney Ryan Deaton. "I'm happy with this ruiling. It means she could get another chance."
Retired District Attorney Clyde Herrington said he did not agree with what has happened and thought they did the right thing with the charge that was read to the jury.
"There was no objection to the charge at the time," Herrington said. "There also wasn't any guidance in the law on how to word a charge in this type of case."