Conviction Reinstated in Child's Death
Oct. 16, 1986
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ A man who said he killed his 4-year-old daughter to save her soul faces a 30-year prison sentence after an appeals court reinstated a murder conviction it threw out in February.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals said Wednesday there was conflicting testimony on whether David Leon Schuessler was insane.
It said that although appellate courts can disagree with jurors' decisions in cases involving conflicting testimony, they cannot ''interfere with the verdict unless the jury's decision was irrational.''
The court said in February that Schuessler had proven his insanity defense, but prosecutors asked for a rehearing.
According to court records Schuessler left Phoenix, Ariz., in January 1980 and drove toward Texas.
He was stopped for driving without a license and later told deputies he and the girl were ''hexed.''
He said ''a devil in the form of a black horse was trying to take his daughter's soul, that he had seen her head swell and her arms and legs shrink, and that he had killed her quickly to save her soul,'' according to court records.
The girl's body was found by a Border Patrol agent near Interstate 10 near Sierra Blanca, Texas.