Corpus Christi man set for execution Thursday for death of girl, 4, wins court reprieve

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HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A death row inmate set to die this week for the slaying of his girlfriend's 4-year-old child at their home in Corpus Christi has won a reprieve from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Thirty-five-year-old Richard Vasquez had been scheduled for lethal injection Thursday evening for the 1998 death of Miranda Lopez.

Vasquez told authorities the girl was standing on a stool in the bathroom, brushing her teeth, when she fell and hit her head. Police began an investigation because her injuries were so severe.

In their appeal to the court, Vasquez's attorneys contended new research on shaken baby syndrome and head injuries debunks testimony from prosecution experts at his 1999 trial.

According to the ruling late Monday, two of the court's nine judges would have denied the reprieve.

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