Appeals court reverses ruling that dropped charges in ‘85 murder case

In the latest twist in a long-running Austin murder case, a state appeals court stepped in Thursday to reinstate murder charges against Dennis Davis in the 1985 cold case death of Natalie Antonetti.

The Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals ruled that state District Judge David Wahlberg erred when he tossed out Davis’ indictment in 2015 because the continued prosecution violated his right to a speedy trial, largely because of delays caused when prosecutors failed to diligently pursue DNA testing.

The appeals court ruled, however, that much of the delay in Davis’ case was due to factors outside the prosecution’s control, including the appointment of new lawyers to defend Davis, a crowded docket for the trial judge and slow progress by the DNA testing lab.

Thursday’s decision provided the latest of many sharp turns since the investigation into Antonetti’s death was renewed in 2007.

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