MORTON, MICHAEL: Texas Tribune online -
126,621. Thirty years ago, a Williamson County murder set in motion a shoddy prosecution — one in which ignored witness accounts and withheld evidence led to the conviction of an innocent man.
Michael Morton spent 25 years in prison for his wife’s bludgeoning death before DNA analysis finally freed him, a miscarriage in justice that still reverberates through the state’s criminal cases.
Christine Morton was beaten to death in their family home on August 13, 1986. Michael Morton should never have been a key suspect: he had left for work early that morning. The couple’s three-year-old son Eric, who witnessed the murder, described a man who looked nothing like his father. Neighbors had reported a man lurking in the neighborhood. A canceled check made out to Christine Morton was cashed with a forged signature after her death, and her credit card was used fraudulently in San Antonio.
But police pointed to Michael Morton anyway, and Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson was adamant he had his guy — a jilted man he believed had punished his wife for not agreeing to have sex the night before …
It took 20 years of waiting and fighting for Morton to clear his name. In 2008, signs of a botched case emerged, when Morton and his lawyers first learned of Eric’s description of his mother’s killer, the check and the credit card use.
In 2011, DNA testing of a bloody bandana found near the crime scene revealed Christine Morton’s blood and the DNA of another man — not Morton. That same year, the DNA was matched to Mark Alan Norwood, who had a criminal past including drug possession, assault and burglary charges in California and Texas.
From there, the case against Morton unraveled. After getting a file unsealed that contained an investigator’s reports on the murder, Morton and his legal team discovered that many of the notes – including information about the lurking man and the details about credit card and check fraud – were missing.
The district attorney’s office had withheld it. Morton was released from prison. (Murder & Miscarriage of Justice) The Texas Tribune online article 13 August 2016, ‘How Michael Morton’s Wrongful Conviction Has Brought Others to Justice’