The Amarillo Globe-News reported Saturday that Chyann Bratcher and her mother, Brenda Robinson Fine, asked for the attorneys so they could pursue claims they had ineffective counsel in their murder trial. They were convicted of murder in 1995.
The women argued that a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision applied to their case as well. In that case, a new trial was ordered for an Arizona man convicted of sexual assault of a minor.
Magistrate Clinton Averitte denied those motions. He said the high court's ruling was not applicable to their case.
The two women were sentenced to life in prison without parole for the drowning death of 26-year-old Billy Bratcher, Chyann Bratcher's husband.
In 2002, the women claimed their sentences should have been tossed out for various reasons, including claims of prosecutorial misconduct and allegations that government attorneys committed perjury before a federal grand jury. A federal judge in Amarillo denied those claims.
Chyann Bratcher and Fine were convicted of the charges after Thomas Fine Jr., Bratcher's brother, testified against his sister and mother. Fine Jr. was sentenced to 30 years in prison on a murder conspiracy charge in a deal to drop murder and mail fraud charges against him.
Fine Jr. told jurors the women offered him $25,000 to kill Billy Bratcher. He says he devised a scheme to drown the victim on a late-night fishing trip at Lake Meredith in April 1994. Billy Bratcher fell into cold water after Fine Jr. sharply turned their raft as Bratcher was standing.
His death was initially ruled accidental because his blood-alcohol level was about twice the legal limit.
Prosecution testimony showed the two women applied for a life-insurance policy on Billy Bratcher about three months before his death. The payoff would have doubled in the event of accidental death.
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