Robert Roberson was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in 2003 for allegedly causing the death of Nikki Curtis, his two-year-old daughter. He has always maintained his innocence.

At trial the State hypothesized that Nikki’s internal brain injuries had been intentionally inflicted by a combination of severe shaking and blunt force trauma to the head, despite the absence of any evidence of external bleeding or any internal injuries to the neck or skull. The State relied on the theory known as “Shaken Baby Syndrome.” Many now regard this as “junk science.”

Since Mr. Robert’s trial fifteen years ago, a serious debate has erupted within the scientific community around the controversial SBS hypothesis. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stayed Robert’s execution in 2016, in part, to determine whether his conviction was based on junk science. New experts claim that Nikki, a child with serious health problems, is likely to have died because of her health problems or could have died from a short fall. Could Robert be innocent of capital murder?


Robert Leslie Roberson III was born in Mineola, Texas on November 10, 1966. Robert had a difficult childhood. Robert’s father was a violent and vicious drunk. He drank continuously day and night, berating and beating his wife and children. Robert was beaten if he cried and so soon learned never to show emotion. Much of Robert’s childhood was spent in unimaginable poverty. The Robersons lived on ramshackle properties deep in the East Texas piney woods, miles outside of town. Robert struggled in school until he eventually dropped out without completing high school.

Despite all of this, Robert tried to create a better life for himself. He had joined the high school football team, and later joined the military. Robert started using drugs but he was trying to fight his addiction when he met a young woman named Michelle. She was also form Palestine, Texas. Nikki was born to Michelle when she was 22 years old. Robert was then not around. Later, though, he got custody and tried to take good care of Nikki, working two paper routes. Nikki was his motivation to change his life for the better, until she unexpectedly died in 2002.

While incarcerated on death row, Robert has clung to the religious teachings of his childhood and found strength in his faith. He occupies himself with studying the Bible and sending cards to his supporters.


Anderson County judge rejects appeal for death row inmate.
A new filing shows that a death row inmate’s conviction will not be overturned despite new evidence hoped to exonerate a man accused in the death of his daughter. – KLTV (Feb. 14, 2022).
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Wrongfully Convicted Death Row Exonerees Speak Out in Support of New Trial for Robert Roberson

Roberson seeks relief based on overwhelming evidence of actual innocence – Witness to Innocence (Jan. 31, 2022).
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East Texas death row inmate who claims he is innocent of toddler’s death back in court

In a bench trial this morning, Sween argued it was not shaking or beating that caused Nikki’s death, but rather a series of health problems, including a recent bout with pneumonia. (updated Jan. 31, 2022).
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The Northwestern Pritzker School of Law conducted research on innocence in capital cases and researched Robert’s case.
Unrequited Innocence in U.S. Capital Cases – Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy (Spring 2019).
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Will a Texas law that overturns convictions based on bad science save this death row inmate?
The Texas Tribune (Aug. 16, 2018).
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Death Watch: Shaken Science. Appeal rests on new research into Shaken Baby Syndrome.
The Austin Chronicle (Jun. 17, 2016).
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Justice for Robert Roberson ©2022