Murder Suspect Mark Norwood's Mother Speaks Out/Family members of Christine Morton and Debra Baker filled a Tom Green County courtroom with tearful hugs and relieved smiles on Wednesday after a jury found Mark Alan Norwood guilty of murder.

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Normal Murder Suspect Mark Norwood's Mother Speaks Out/Family members of Christine Morton and Debra Baker filled a Tom Green County courtroom with tearful hugs and relieved smiles on Wednesday after a jury found Mark Alan Norwood guilty of murder.

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:23 pm

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Wednesday, 09 Nov 2011

BASTROP, TX (KXAN) - After witnessing Mark Norwood's arrest Wednesday morning at their Bastrop home, his mother Dorothy speaks out.

“I've known him for 57 years,” she said. "He's not a killer."

They have lived together in Bastrop for about two years. Before that, they briefly lived in California together.

“It has been very difficult, starting in August," she said.

That's when police began questioning Mark about the murder of Christine Morton in 1986. DNA evidence recently linked Mark Norwood to the crime scene through a bloody bandana, which susequently was able to free Christine's husband Michael of the crime after he was in prison for more than two decades.

During questioning at their home over the last few months, Williamson County Sheiff's officers said Norwood could not provide a reason why the DNA was on the bandana.

“Pictures, names that Mark had been shown. He couldn't remember one thing about it, couldn't even remember if he had been in that area. But, of course, he could have,” Dorothy said.

Norwood also worked as a dishwasher off and on for a restaurant in historic downtown Bastrop. Other business owners in the area would see Mark hanging around the area regularly.

“I didn't get a sense he was a friendly person, but he didn't seem like a bad person. I just didn't get to know him that well,” said Craig Pennell, who helps run The Book Basket in downtown Bastrop.

Neighbors who live near Norwood's home say he wasn't a very friendly person, and would rarely acknowledge them. In fact, an assault charge was brought against Norwood by his next door neighbor last year in which he claimed Norwood physically attacked him, and kicked him in the head.

But, despite multiple charges including aggravated assault, arson, burglaries and attempted murder, which span three decades and two states, Norwood's mother says she is sticking by her son's side.

"I believe he's completely innocent,” she said.

When asked how she will get through it, Dorothy replied, "My faith in God. And the truth usually does come out, eventually.”

The charge in Williamson County is a Capital Murder charge, which means Norwood could face the death penalty. Norwood is also a suspect in a separate murder that happened in 1988 in Austin. Those charges are still pending.

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Normal Re: Murder Suspect Mark Norwood's Mother Speaks Out/Family members of Christine Morton and Debra Baker filled a Tom Green County courtroom with tearful hugs and relieved smiles on Wednesday after a jury found Mark Alan Norwood guilty of murder.

Post by Wrapitup on Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:32 pm

WOW!!! I have seen that Norwood person in the Bastrop WalMart. I remember him because he looked so dirty and scraggly w/that beard.

He already murdered someone and that poor family has gone on long enough with no justice.

Again, Nite, thank you for this thread!! This guy is truly a POS!! And, his mother needs to get out of her denial!!

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Normal Re: Murder Suspect Mark Norwood's Mother Speaks Out/Family members of Christine Morton and Debra Baker filled a Tom Green County courtroom with tearful hugs and relieved smiles on Wednesday after a jury found Mark Alan Norwood guilty of murder.

Post by NiteSpinR on Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:17 am

When asked how she will get through it, Dorothy replied, "My faith in God. And the truth usually does come out, eventually.”

This may be the one true thing she said.
Just ask Christine's husband Michael Morton. Not only did he lose his wife when Mark Norwood killed her, he served 25 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, as he waited for the truth to come out.

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Normal Austin Police Hope That Links to Norwood's Past Will Tie Him To The 1988 Murder of Debra Baker

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:16 am

November 22, 2011

AUSTIN -- Police on Tuesday were pleading for help in a decades-old murder.

They have DNA evidence. Still, it remains a very cold case. Despite that DNA evidence, Mark Alan Norwood is still just a suspect in Debra Baker's murder. That is why police are asking anyone who knew him in the late 1980's to come forward, so they can gather as much information as possible in this case.

Tuesday, Austin police released a 1987 mug shot of Norwood. They're hoping it may jog the memory of anyone who may have known or done business with him during that time. Norwood is a suspect in the 1988 murder of Debra Baker. For years, this was a cold case, with no suspects in the crime. But last month the same DNA evidence that cleared convicted killer Michael Morton in the 1986 death of his wife Christine, led to charges against Norwood in that murder and linked him to Baker's.

Police now want to hear from Norwood's friends, neighbors, associates, anyone who had contact with him in 1987 and '88.

"Anyone that may have bought or received property," said Julie O'Brien, an APD Commander. "Or if you may have seen him in possession of property you thought perhaps was suspicious in how he acquired it."

That's because items were stolen from Baker's house the day of her murder. Police won't say what was taken. Tuesday, Baker's daughter Caitlin declined an on-camera interview, but she told KVUE she's hoping anyone with information will call police. At a news conference she attended last week, Baker did make it clear that she believes Williamson County prosecutors mishandled the Morton murder investigation which led to her mother's murder.

"He let Norwood go," said Baker, referring to then Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson. "He did not get him when he should have. My mother could be alive right now."

Tuesday, police released a map of a section of North Austin which shows how close Norwood lived to Baker's home on Dwyce Drive. The map also shows where Norwood was charged and later convicted of burglarizing two homes. We showed that map and photos of Norwood's to residents who live in those neighborhoods now.

"To hear these things," said Kevin Sharp, a North Austin resident. "This happened when, 30 years ago? It is very, very alarming."

"It is pretty creepy," said Jon Emery, a North Austin resident. "It has taken them that long for justice to be served. It is going to make everybody nervous."

Anyone with information is asked to contact APD detectives at 477-3588.


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Normal Re: Murder Suspect Mark Norwood's Mother Speaks Out/Family members of Christine Morton and Debra Baker filled a Tom Green County courtroom with tearful hugs and relieved smiles on Wednesday after a jury found Mark Alan Norwood guilty of murder.

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:20 am


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Normal Tears and Relief After Norwood Found Guilty

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:55 am

March 27, 2013

Family members of Christine Morton and Debra Baker filled a Tom Green County courtroom with tearful hugs and relieved smiles on Wednesday after a jury found Mark Alan Norwood guilty of murder.



Norwood, 58, received an automatic life sentence after the jury decided he was guilty of the Aug. 13, 1986 killing of Christine Morton, who was beaten to death in her North Austin home. Michael Morton spent nearly 25 years in prison wrongfully convicted of his wife's murder. He was released from prison and exonerated in 2011 after DNA testing linked his wife’s death and the murder of Debra Baker to Norwood. Morton called the verdict a "mixed bag."

"It's not a time to celebrate. It's not a happy day," Morton said outside of the courthouse. "It's a big exhalation."

Norwood, as he had through most of the trial, displayed little visible reaction as the verdict was read. Norwood's relatives, who had been in the courtroom for most of the trial, said they were not surprised by the verdict, because they said the trial had been one-sided. Dorothy Norwood said her son was innocent.

"I've learned the Texas justice system is pretty much broken," she said. "I think it's beyond repair really."

Connie Hoff, Norwood's sister, said there would be an immediate appeal of the jury's verdict. Her family, she said, is now experiencing the same thing Michael Morton’s family did when he was wrongly convicted in 1987.

“History is repeating itself,” she said.

The jury deliberated for less than four hours after prosecutors and Norwood's defense lawyers presented their closing arguments. Their remarks encapsulated the six days of testimony jurors heard. Prosecutors said that Norwood was linked to Christine Morton’s murder both by a bandana found near the crime scene that contained DNA from the victim and from the former Bastrop dishwasher and by a gun that they said he stole from the Morton home and then sold to another man. They also alleged that Norwood committed a nearly identical crime a year-and-a-half later, the Jan. 13, 1988 murder in Austin of Debra Baker, who was also beaten to death in her bed.

In her closing arguments to the jury, special prosecutor Lisa Tanner made an emotional plea to the 12 jurors, seven of whom were women, reminding them of the horror of the crimes she said Norwood committed — young mothers helplessly trying to defend themselves against the blows of an intruder who had silently watched their homes before entering in the dark of the morning and beating them to death.

"We, as women, when we get out of our cars at night we look all around, we check our surroundings," said Tanner, an assistant attorney general. "When we go into our home, when we put our heads on our pillows, we expect to be safe."

She told the jury that the Morton family had waited 26 years for justice.

“You have seen pure evil, you have seen evil in this courtroom,” she said. “Don't make them wait any longer. Don't let evil walk out of here with you.”

In the defense’s closing arguments, lawyers Russell Hunt, Jr. and Ariel Payan told the jury that there were too many holes in the state’s case. Their defense strategy focused on raising questions about potential contamination of the DNA evidence and on challenging the credibility of Louis Homer "Sonny" Wann Jr., a key state witness. Wann told the jury he purchased from Norwood a .45-caliber gun that was stolen from the Morton’s home.

During the trial, Hunt and Payan asked pointed questions of the state's witnesses who testified about DNA evidence and about the crime scene investigation, but the lawyers did not call any of their own witnesses to discuss the biological material in the case. Instead, Norwood's lawyers called only three witnesses, whose testimony was focused largely on undermining Wann's trustworthiness.

They told jurors in closing arguments that investigators in 1986 had not taken the appropriate precautions to safeguard against contamination of evidence at the Morton crime scene. And they called Wann a liar and a thief.

Payan repeated the phrase he told jurors during opening statements last week. The state's case against Norwood, he said, was based on "contamination and liars."

"There are only two pieces of evidence in this case," Payan told the jury. And he cautioned them against trusting the decades-old memories of witnesses.

"That's the problem with this case," he said. "It's 26 years old, and the memory of now clouds our memories of then."

Hunt showed the jury a photo of Norwood from the 1980s with his then-wife Judy Norwood and their young son, Thomas Alan Norwood. He told them Norwood was a veteran and a family man. The state's evidence, he said, was weak.

“They absolutely cannot prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt,” Hunt said. “The only reasonable, the only appropriate, verdict in this case is not guilty.”

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a statement that with the day's guilty verdict, "a lifelong dose of long-overdue justice has finally been served on Mark Alan Norwood."

"We can only hope that today's verdict provides some much-deserved, but woefully delayed, justice for a family that suffered so terribly for so long," he said.

Tanner said that Norwood was sentenced under 1986 laws which means that he will be eligible for parole in 15 years. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty for Norwood at the request of Christine Morton's family, and Texas' life without parole statute did not exist in 1986.

Norwood still faces murder charges in Travis County for the 1988 murder of Baker, whose family was in the courtroom for the verdict. The trial for Christine Morton’s murder was moved to San Angelo because of extensive media coverage of the case in Central Texas.

Baker’s mother Gertrude Masters, her sister Lisa Conn, her husband Phillip Baker and their children Caitlin and Jesse Baker, exchanged hugs and expressed satisfaction with the outcome, but now await a trial in her case, which had been considered cold until 2011. That summer, DNA evidence identified in the Morton case helped police to identify Norwood’s DNA in hair found at the scene of Baker’s murder.

The Bakers shared hugs and wiped away tears on Wednesday with Christine Morton’s family, including Michael Morton and his wife Cynthia; Christine Morton’s sister, Marylee Kirkpatrick, the Morton’s son Eric Olson — who Kirkpatrick raised after his mother’s death and his father’s imprisonment — and his wife Maggie.

“We’re so happy that Christine finally has justice,” said Caitlin Baker, who was 3 when her mother died. “She is so clearly loved by all who knew her, and we wish we had had that privilege as well.”

Outside of the courthouse, Michael Morton exchanged a hug with Dorothy Norwood, who told the exoneree she was glad to have met him. She told reporters that she and Morton shared a faith in God.
"You feel a common spirit between some people," she said.

In a statement late Wednesday evening, Marylee Kirkpatrick said the second trial for her sister's murder had been difficult for the family, and she said they were saddened that Michael Morton had spent decades in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

"We hope that Christine can now finally be at rest and we, therefore, can have lasting peace," she said.


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Norwood's mother still continues the claim of her son's innocence.

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Normal Re: Murder Suspect Mark Norwood's Mother Speaks Out/Family members of Christine Morton and Debra Baker filled a Tom Green County courtroom with tearful hugs and relieved smiles on Wednesday after a jury found Mark Alan Norwood guilty of murder.

Post by Wrapitup on Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:01 am


"I've learned the Texas justice system is pretty much broken," she said. "I think it's beyond repair really."
Ya think???

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