Getting shot six times by an off-duty Copperas Cove Police Officer is not Lacresha Murray’s first experience with law enforcement.

That happened in 1996, when she was 11-years-old and living in Austin. Murray was babysitting 2-year-old Jayla Belton when the child died. Police interrogated Murray and she eventually became the youngest person to ever be charged with murder in Travis County.

Murray’s attorney argued the officers forced her to confess, but she was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in a youth prison.

The judge in the case threw out the verdict and a second trial took place. That jury also found Murray guilty and sentenced her to 25 years in a youth prison.

In 1999, the 3rd Court of Appeals overturned Murray’s conviction. The judge determined police had illegally obtained a confession from her.

Austin Police detectives interrogated the 11-year-old girl for 2 1/2 hours without talking to her guardians, did not contact an attorney for her, and without taking her before a magistrate. All of which is required by state law.

As investigators looked at the medical evidence gathered after Jayla Belton’s death, they concluded the 2-year-old suffered injuries before she was left with Murray.  

In 2000, Murray walked out of the Texas Youth Commission at the age of 15. The next year, the Travis Co. District Attorney Ronnie Earle dropped all the charges against her.

During the years that followed, Murray had several more arrests, including an arrest for assault with injury. According to the police affidavit, this is where it all began Lucretia got into a fight with her ex girlfriend, and was arrested and charged with assault with injury.

Barbara Taft acted as Murray’s advocate for several years and is still a close friend today. She blames a lack of rehabilitation from the first time Murray was in jail. She says Murray was left to fend for herself on the street when she was released from prison the first time at age 15.