Tape Adds Bizarre Twist to Salt Poisoning Mom's Bid for Freedom

(Image Credit: Todd Yates/Corpus Christi Caller-Times/AP Photo)

The strange case of Hannah Overton and Andrew Burd just got even stranger. We've reported on this case since 2008.

Just last night, I listened to an audio recording that appears to be a meeting between Overton's pastors and two attorneys associated with the prosecutor in Overton's 2007 trial. San Antonio defense attorney Cynthia Orr, who is trying to get Overton's conviction overturned, filed the recording with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

In 2007 Overton was convicted of murder in the salt-poisoning death of Burd, a four-year-old boy she was trying to adopt, and sentenced to life in prison. In September, I reported for "20/20? about her current appeal, in which she alleges that former prosecutor Sandra Eastwood withheld critical evidence that could have changed the outcome of her case.

The recording and transcript of the meeting seem to reveal Eastwood's own attorney, Ruth Kollman, and Eastwood's current employer, Jerry Trevino - both Corpus Christi attorneys - making an unusual suggestion to Overton's two pastors. On the recording, Kollman asks that Overton sign a "conflicts waiver" that would allow Kollman and Trevino to represent her, despite their obvious connection to the woman who put Overton behind bars. On the audio tape, Kollman even agrees with Overton's pastor, at one point, that "[Overton] should not be in prison right now." Kollman also appears to suggest that Overton drop her claims of prosecutorial misconduct against Eastwood.

We left a message for Trevino and emailed with Kollman last night. Kollman responded on behalf of both of them and confirmed that she still represents Eastwood. When we asked her about the meeting and what took place, she did not respond.

Two Texas courts have rejected Overton's appeals, but her legal team is hopeful the higher court will rule in her favor. Additionally, Eastwood has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, and neither the state bar nor the state attorney general has pursued any disciplinary actions against Eastwood.

Just the latest twist in the case that keeps me up at night. More to come as we report this out.

ABC News' Shana Druckerman contributed to this report.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...