After Serving 25 Years Of A life Sentence DNA Exonerates Michael Morton Of His Wife Christine's Murder

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Normal After Serving 25 Years Of A life Sentence DNA Exonerates Michael Morton Of His Wife Christine's Murder

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:17 pm

November 9, 2011

Williamson County Sheriff's Sgt. John Foster announced outside the sheriff's office Wednesday afternoon that investigators had made an arrest in connection with the 1986 slaying of Christine Morton, who was beaten to death in her home near Austin, Texas.

Her husband, Michael Morton, was convicted of her murder but was recently exonerated after serving 25 years of a life sentence. Foster spoke briefly with The Times about the case.

What can you tell us about the arrest today?

Williamson County officials have arrested Mark Alan Norwood for the murder of Christine Morton.

What evidence was the arrest based on? Was it related to the blue bandanna found near the murder scene that helped exonerate Michael Morton after it was recently tested for DNA?

The blue bandanna turned over to investigators by John Kirkpatrick, Christine Morton's brother, on Aug. 14, 1986, was tested and showed both Christine Morton's hair and DNA as well as another DNA profile which investigators entered into a nationwide law enforcement index. This search revealed a match. The match belonged to Mark Alan Norwood.

Did investigators speak with Norwood, 57, before his arrest?

On Aug. 26, 2011 detectives spoke with Norwood, who told them he lived in Austin in 1986 and worked as a carpet layer. Norwood provided no innocent explanation for why his DNA would be on
the bandanna with the blood and hair of Christine Morton.

Did Norwood say anything during his arrest?

No.

Records show Christine Morton's credit card was used and a check belonging to her was cashed by a female suspect in the days after her murder--are you still searching for additional suspects?

The investigation is ongoing, but I cannot discuss particular suspects.

Why is the investigation ongoing?

You can’t deny in this case that an innocent person has gone to jail. At the same time, we are not wanting history to repeat itself; that is why our investigation is ongoing and it’s going to be very thorough and methodical. This is a new time in law enforcement compared to 26 years ago. No
one working on this case was here when they investigated Mr. Morton.

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Normal Re: After Serving 25 Years Of A life Sentence DNA Exonerates Michael Morton Of His Wife Christine's Murder

Post by Wrapitup on Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:24 pm

That poor man!! I hope Texas has to pay him a settlement for being locked up!!! Thank God for DNA evidence - otherwise, this man would still be in prison!

Thanks for the article, Nite!

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Normal DA In The Michael Morton Case Apologizes For Wrongful Conviction

Post by NiteSpinR on Thu Nov 17, 2011 1:57 am

November 16, 2011



GEORGETOWN -- The man who prosecuted Michael Morton apologized Wednesday. However, the daughter of another murder victim isn't buying it 25 years after the fact.

Caitlin Baker's mother, Debra, was murdered in 1988, two years after Christine Morton was murdered. Baker says if the district attorney at the time, Ken Anderson, had prosecuted the right man, perhaps her mother would still be alive. That's why she wasn't moved by Anderson's apology.

Now a district judge, Anderson walked down the steps at the old Williamson County courthouse. It is the same courthouse where, as district attorney in 1986, he prosecuted Michael Morton for the murder of his wife Christine.

"In terms of the overall case I am sick," said Anderson. "I was involved in a prosecution. We got it wrong. That is something I am just going to have to deal with."

After 25 years in prison, Morton was freed recently after DNA evidence linked Mark Norwood of Bastrop County to the crime. Norwood has since been arrested and charged with murder of Christine Morton.

"What happened should not have happened," said Anderson. "It is inconceivable that this happened. I really do want to apologize to him and to everyone else that this affected. The system failed and it should not have failed."

Anderson steadfastly denied allegations of any professional misconduct involving him or any of the prosecutors in his office during the Morton case. Allegations that include concealing key evidence that could have helped to prove Morton's innocence.

"I am sorry," said Anderson. "The deposition does not say that."

"It does say that in several places," said Caitlin Baker, whose mother was murdered in 1988. "I wanted him to see me. Never once did he make eye contact with me, but I wanted him to know that I was here."

Baker's mother Debra was murdered two years after the Morton murder. Austin police say Norwood is now a suspect in the Baker case. I asked Baker if she believes Anderson is ultimately responsible for her mother's murder.

"He let Norwood go," Baker said. "He did not get him when he should have. My mother could be alive right now if he had gotten the right guy. If he had not gone after Michael Morton we could be a totally different life right now. I could have my mother. I absolutely think he is partly responsible. He did not actually do it, but he did not do his job."

Baker says if Anderson is genuinely sorry about what happened during the Morton case, he should step down as district judge. Anderson says he has no plans to resign.


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Normal Re: After Serving 25 Years Of A life Sentence DNA Exonerates Michael Morton Of His Wife Christine's Murder

Post by cb116 on Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:55 pm

Thank you for posting about this.
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Normal Re: After Serving 25 Years Of A life Sentence DNA Exonerates Michael Morton Of His Wife Christine's Murder

Post by Wrapitup on Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:23 pm

Michael Morton case
Comments from readers
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR »
Updated: 7:40 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011

Miscarriage of justice

If our legal system becomes focused at convictions instead of justice, then we are all at risk. I appreciate the American-Statesman's continuing coverage of the Michael Morton case and strong editorial comments. We can't restore Morton's years of lost freedom, but the public must have reckoning for the official misconduct that led to this miscarriage.

David Crump
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Austin

I have now read several editorials in which the American-Statesman has implored the State Bar to get involved in the Michael Morton matter. Though this presumably makes sense, since the bar is supposed to discipline lawyers, the reality is that the bar regularly does not discipline lawyers involved in serious crimes.

For example, the bar did absolutely nothing to the Vinson & Elkins lawyers who were actively involved in the crimes of Enron Corp. The bar also did nothing to Charles Sebesta, the prosecutor responsible for wrongfully imprisoning Anthony Graves for a crime he did not commit. If history is any sort of guide, the bar is not going to do anything to the prosecutors who wrongfully imprisoned Morton. The only person who has the power to do something meaningful in this case is U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman. Pitman should immediately open an investigation into this matter and determine whether Williamson County officials committed crimes in the Morton matter.

This situation requires much more action than a meaningless State Bar investigation. Pitman owes it to Morton to investigate this travesty with the power and resources of the federal government.

Adam Loewy
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Austin

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