SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio man accused of murdering a 79-year-old woman more than 20 years ago had his sentence reduced from 99 years to 18 years after agreeing to plead guilty in the case Monday.
The plea agreement for Robert Fischer came after an appeals court previously negated Fischer’s 2005 conviction based on new evidence and technology that was not available at his original trial, a spokesman for the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office confirmed Tuesday.
Fischer, who was free on bond ahead of Monday’s hearing in 226th District Court, was given credit for 16 years time served but was taken back into custody while Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials determine whether he will be paroled or must serve the remainder of his sentence, which is around two years.
Fischer was charged for the May 2003 murder of 79-year-old Edith Camp.
A Bexar County jury convicted Fischer in the case in August 2005, and he was sentenced to serve 99 years in prison.
In a lengthy statement, a DA spokesman provided the appeals history on the case and why prosecutors ultimately offered Fischer a plea agreement:
“His conviction was reversed by the Fourth Court of Appeals due to an error at the trial court level in 2007. However, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the Fourth Court’s decision and affirmed the conviction. This marked the end of the direct appeals. In very late March of 2010, defendant Fischer filed an application for writ of habeas corpus. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied defendant Fischer’s initial habeas application. Defendant, however, filed a second habeas petition on a new legal basis as allowed by a change in state law. The new habeas petition had two prongs and was essentially based on new technology/evidence that was not available at the time of trial. After a hearing, the trial court determined that new evidence (the new evidence was about cell-phone tower location data) that was not available at trial ‘was vital to the outcome of the case’ and that - had the new evidence been presented originally - defendant ‘would not have been convicted.’ Defendant was released by TDCJ thereafter while the habeas appeals played out. Ultimately, the Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the trial court’s findings as the new evidence and its alleged impact on the original trial. The decision by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals negated the original conviction. And, from that point on, the case landed back with the prosecutors currently assigned to the original trial court. It fell to them to prosecute and handle a 2003 murder case in 2023.”
Camp, Fischer’s aunt, had been found shot to death inside her Hollywood Park home, according to appeals paperwork on the case.
There may have been a dispute over money between Camp and Fischer prior to the shooting, the paperwork stated.