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    1. #1
      MRBAM's Avatar
      Join Date
      Sep 2011
      Capital Region NY

      Mark Alan Norwood Capital Murder Trial Delayed in 1988 TX Murder of Debra Jan Baker

      Wedding photograph of Michael and Christine Morton

      Victim, Debra Jan Baker

      (Right) Mark Alan Norwood in the 1980's and (left) recent photo

      Mark Alan Norwood Sentenced to Life in 1986 TX Slaying of Christine Morton

      GEORGETOWN — Special prosecutor Lisa Tanner will not seek the death penalty for Mark Norwood, the Bastrop man charged with the 1986 murder of Christine Morton, a crime for which her husband was wrongfully imprisoned for nearly 25 years.

      Tanner, an assistant attorney general who is leading the case against Norwood, filed a notice Wednesday in the 368th Williamson County District Court advising the court that the state would not seek the death penalty after consulting with family members of Christine Morton.

      She was found bludgeoned to death in her bed on Aug. 13, 1986, in the home she shared with her husband, Michael Morton, and their 3-year-old son, Eric, in North Austin. Michael Morton was convicted or her murder in February 1987, though he maintained his innocence. He spent 24 years and seven months in prison before DNA evidence proved that he was innocent. He was released in October 2011.

      In a notice of intent filed Wednesday in Williamson County, Tanner wrote that Morton, his son Eric and Christine Morton's siblings expressed their desire that Norwood not be sentenced to death if he were convicted.

      After a more than six-year-long fight to obtain DNA testing on a bloody bandana found about 100 yards away from the Mortons' home, the results showed that Christine Morton's blood was mixed with the DNA of Norwood. Additional DNA testing also identified Norwood's DNA at the scene of another murder. Debra Masters Baker, like Christine Morton, was beaten to death in her bed. Her 1988 murder remained a cold case until the DNA testing last year.

      Norwood was charged with Christine Morton's murder and arrested in November 2011. He is considered a suspect in Baker's murder. Norwood's lawyer, Russell Hunt Jr., has said his client maintains his innocence in both cases.

      Norwood's trial is scheduled to take place Jan. 7 in San Angelo after Judge Burt Carnes agreed to move the trial out of Williamson County because of extensive media coverage of the case in Central Texas.


    2. #2
      Heidi's Avatar
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      Oct 2010
      Testimony begins in wrongful-conviction case

      A stolen gun and DNA evidence link a drifter to the 1986 murder of an Austin woman whose husband was wrongfully convicted in her death and spent nearly 25 years in prison before being exonerated, prosecutors told jurors Tuesday during opening statements in the new trial.

      Mark Alan Norwood, 58, is being tried for the beating death of Christine Morton, who was attacked in her north Austin home. Prosecutors allege Norwood beat and sexually assaulted the woman and stole a gun from her home, but defense attorneys say the DNA evidence easily could have been contaminated.

      Morton's husband, Michael, was initially convicted in her death in 1987, but he was exonerated and freed in 2011 after new DNA testing was done on a bloody bandanna found near the couple's home. Investigators said the DNA evidence led them to Norwood, whose DNA was in a national database thanks to his long criminal history. He also has been indicted in a 1988 slaying of another Austin woman who lived near the Mortons.

      Prosecutor Lisa Tanner told jurors that DNA testing wasn't available when the blood on the bandanna was initially tested in 1986. Authorities say the bandanna had Norwood's DNA as well as Christine Morton's blood and hair.

      "The evidence was there all along," Tanner said. "The science just needed to catch up."

      Tanner also revealed for the first time that investigators in 2011 had found a .45 Colt pistol that was missing from the Mortons' home at the time of the murder. Tanner said a man named Louis Wann who had hired Norwood to help remodel a house in Austin told investigators Norwood had sold him the gun in 1986. Norwood had worked in construction jobs near the Mortons' home around the time of the killing, according to investigators.

      Michael Morton, who was the first witness to testify, said he learned that the gun, which was registered to him, was missing after he came home from work the day his wife was killed.

      But Norwood's lawyer, Ariel Payan, told jurors that the DNA evidence allegedly linking his client to the murder could have been contaminated. Payan said the two issues jurors will need to consider in the trial were "contamination and liars."

      "You have to weigh the pieces of evidence," he said during his opening statement.

      The trial is being held in San Angelo after being moved from Williamson County, near Austin, because of publicity in the case. The Texas Attorney General's Office is handling the prosecution and is not seeking the death penalty.

      Last month, a special hearing known as a court of inquiry was held to examine whether state district Judge Ken Anderson acted improperly in 1987 when, as Williamson County district attorney, he prosecuted Michael Morton. Morton's lawyers have accused Anderson of intentionally hiding evidence.

      Anderson has denied any wrongdoing. A decision by a judge on whether Anderson should face criminal charges in the case might come next month. Anderson also is being sued by the State Bar of Texas for his conduct in the Morton case.

      A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    3. #3
      Heidi's Avatar
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      Oct 2010
      Texas man found guilty in wrongful conviction case

      A jury has convicted a man for the murder of an Austin woman whose husband was wrongfully convicted of her slaying and spent nearly 25 years in prison before being exonerated.

      The San Angelo Standard-Times reports jurors in San Angelo on Wednesday found Mark Alan Norwood guilty of capital murder in the death of Christine Morton. He faces up to life in prison.

      Morton's husband, Michael Morton, was initially convicted in her 1986 death, but he was freed in 2011 after new DNA testing on a bandanna found near the couple's home exonerated him and linked Norwood to the crime.

      The prosecutor in Morton's case, now a judge, is accused of hiding evidence from defense attorneys.

      Publicity in the case led a judge to move Norwood's trial to San Angelo.

      A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    4. #4
      Heidi's Avatar
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      Oct 2010
      Norwood attorneys appeal capital murder conviction

      Attorneys for Mark Norwood have officially asked for a new trial.

      Last week, Norwood was convicted of capital murder for the 1986 slaying of Christine Morton. He is also charged with the murder of Debra Baker here in Austin.

      The jury was allowed to hear evidence about the Baker case. Norwood's attorney says that prejudiced the jury against him.

      Morton's husband Michael was initially convicted of her murder and spent almost 25 years in prison before he was exonerated in 2011.

      A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    5. #5
      Jan's Avatar
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      May 2011
      Mark Alan Norwood is serving Life and will be eligible for parole on November 09, 2031 at the age of 77.


    6. #6
      Helen69's Avatar
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      Jan 2013
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
      Trial delayed again for suspect in 1988 murder

      AUSTIN (KXAN) — The family of a woman killed in 1988 is furious the suspect will not go to trial until September.




      Mark Norwood, who appeared in court Monday, is charged with capital murder in the death of Debra Baker. She was beaten to death in her Austin home 27 years ago. The case went unsolved until 2011 when prosecutors say DNA evidence pointed to Norwood as a suspect.

      His trial was supposed to begin in February, but a judge pushed it back to the fall.

      Caitlin Baker says the move is preventing her family from having closure.

      “My grandmother…is 91 and at this point she doesn’t expect to see the end of this and we need her to see the end of this,” Baker said. “We’ve tried to tell them multiple times but all they have are delays and we need this to come to a conclusion as soon as possible.”

      Norwood is already in prison for the 1986 murder of Christine Morton. DNA evidence helped lead to that conviction. Christine’s husband, Michael Morton, was wrongly convicted of that crime and spent decades in prison. He was exonerated back in 2011.

      "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."

      - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

      "It's messed up that SCOTUS still decides cases by tying up a goat in front of Mt. Rushmore and seeing if the presidents eat it."

      - Stephen

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