Michael Morton

The Lead
9:27 am
Mon February 11, 2013

The Lead: Anderson Inquiry Ends, Texas SEAL Chris Kyle Eulogized

Michael Morton watches as the court of inquiry explores former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson's role in Morton's wrongful conviction, on Feb. 6, 2013.
Callie Richmond, Texas Tribune

Good morning. The National Weather Service says Austin can expect continued chances for rain and highs in the 60s today.

Lead Story: Former Williamson County district attorney Ken Anderson has denied any misconduct in the case of Michael Morton, the man who was wrongfully convicted of his wife’s murder and spent 25 years in prison.

Anderson, now a judge in Georgetown, is facing allegations that as a prosecutor he hid evidence that would have proved Morton’s innocence.

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Texas
8:09 am
Sat February 9, 2013

Ken Anderson's Testimony Caps Dramatic Inquiry

The court of inquiry explores former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson's role in the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton, Feb 6, 2013.
Callie Richmond, Texas Tribune

Defiant, angry and frustrated, former prosecutor Ken Anderson took the stand on Friday to defend himself, ending a week of dramatic testimony in an usual court of inquiry that is examining whether the former district attorney committed criminal misconduct during the trial that led to the wrongful murder conviction of Michael Morton.

Morton was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for his wife’s murder, and he spent nearly 25 years behind bars before DNA evidence led to his exoneration in 2011. Lawyers for the exoneree contend that Anderson deliberately withheld critical evidence that could have prevented Morton’s wrongful conviction. Anderson adamantly denied any wrongdoing, and in his often impassioned testimony criticized the court of inquiry. 

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The Lead
9:15 am
Fri February 8, 2013

The Lead: Morton Inquiry Winding Down; Gov. Perry Goes West

Michael Morton watches as the court of inquiry explores former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson's role in Morton's wrongful conviction, on Feb. 6, 2013.
Callie Richmond, Texas Tribune

Good morning. The National Weather Service says Austin will see sunny and mild weather today with a high approaching 70 degrees. A band of severe thunderstorms is expected to blow in Saturday night.

Lead Story: In Georgetown, it’s day five of a court of inquiry seeking answers into the case of Michael Morton. Wrongly convicted for the murder of his wife, Morton spent 25 years behind bars before he was cleared by DNA evidence.

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The Lead
9:30 am
Tue February 5, 2013

The Lead: Austin Road Deaths Mount; WilCo Inquiry Continues

The city is looking for advice on how to make streets safer.
flickr.com/rutlo

Good morning. The National Weather Service says sunny and warm weather is the order of the day, with expected highs in the mid-70s.

Lead Story: Ten people have died in traffic accidents in Austin so far this year. That’s twice as many as this time last year.

The city has launched a survey as part of an effort to reverse that trend, looking for feedback on how to make Austin safer for cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians. You can find the survey on the city’s website.

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The Lead
9:02 am
Mon February 4, 2013

The Lead: Ruling Coming in Texas School Finance Trial, Inquiry Begins in Morton Prosecution

A quiet moment at Austin's Bowie High School. AISD was one of 600 school districts to sue the state over school funding.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Good morning. The National Weather Service says Austin’s in for another day of slightly-warmer-than-average temperatures today, with light sprinkles this morning.

Lead Story: A ruling is set be issued to today on whether the appropriation of state school funds is constitutional.

Over 600 Texas school districts sued the state after lawmakers slashed public funding and grant programs by $5.4 billion dollars in 2011.

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Texas
11:48 am
Mon November 26, 2012

Court of Inquiry in Michael Morton Case Delayed

Judge Ken Anderson (l) and Michael Morton (r)
Justin Dehn / Callie Richmond via Texas Tribune

GEORGETOWN — The court of inquiry that will determine whether the former prosecutor who oversaw the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton could face criminal charges will be delayed until Feb. 4, a prosecutor with the Texas attorney general’s office said Monday.

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Crime
12:24 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

Mark Norwood Indicted in Second Austin Murder

A booking photo of Mark Norwood.

Mark Norwood, the Bastrop dishwasher who was arrested one year ago for the 1986 murder of Christine Morton, was indicted by a Travis County grand jury on Friday for the January 1988 murder of Debra Masters Baker in Austin.

“It has been excruciating for all of us who loved Debra to wait for this day. Now, we finally have a face to put with her tragic murder,” Baker’s family said in a statement released by attorney Sam Bassett.

Norwood's attorney, Russell Hunt Jr., said his client maintains his innocence in both cases. Hunt said Norwood's mother had been subpoenaed to testify before a Travis County grand jury on Friday morning. 

"There's only one reason why" that would happen, he said. "That's if they intend to indict him."

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Texas
8:05 am
Fri October 5, 2012

26 Years Later: Exonerated Citizen Michael Morton Reflects

Exonerated citizen Michael Morton speaks to an attentive audience at the Texas Capitol.
Tyler Pratt for KUT News

Former Williamson County resident Michael Morton was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife. Then 25 years later, he was freed after DNA evidence showed he was not guilty.

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of Morton’s release. He spoke at the Texas Capitol about his experiences over the past 26 years, and the difficulties the Williamson County justice system presented in obtaining the evidence that eventually exonerated him.  

Morton told the audience: 

The odd thing about it is that The Innocence Project was willing to say “Look. Texas statute allows this. We will pay for all the expenses.  Just let us have it and we’ll do it." And for reasons that haven’t been elaborated on or maybe articulated, to mine or anyone else’s satisfaction that I’m aware of, is that they fought this. And fought this. And fought this.

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Crime
1:03 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Williamson County Makes Arrest in 1980 Murder

Williamson County Sheriffs Office

Williamson County sheriff's investigators have arrested Steven Alan Thomas, 53, in the 1980 murder of Mildred McKinney, the agency announced Tuesday.

McKinney was 73 when her daughter found her dead in her Williamson County duplex, where she lived alone. She had been beaten, strangled and raped. The murderer stacked a recliner, end table and vacuum cleaner on her head and chest.

The sheriff's office learned that DNA from the nearly 32-year-old murder scene matched Thomas on June 27, and additional testing of DNA collected from Thomas on July 5 also matched the DNA found at the murder scene. Analysis of a fingerprint from the scene of the murder also belonged to Thomas. 

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Williamson County
4:36 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Morton Case is Focus of Williamson County DA Race

County Attorney Jana Duty is challenging District Attorney John Bradley for his position in Williamson County.
Photo illustration by Brandi Grissom and Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Michael Morton’s name isn’t on the ballot, and he isn’t endorsing anyone in what has become a nasty campaign to become the next district attorney in tough-on-crime Williamson County. 

But his wrongful conviction is the central issue in the GOP primary fight between incumbent District Attorney John Bradley — who spent five years opposing DNA testing that ultimately exonerated Morton — and County Attorney Jana Duty.

While Morton may be staying out of the fray, many close to his case have decided to get involved, hoping, they say, to change the way justice is meted out in Williamson County by urging voters to hold Bradley accountable.

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AM Update
8:32 am
Thu March 29, 2012

AM Update: 'Texan' Apologizes For Trayvon Martin Cartoon, See Michael Morton, Artz Rib House Closes

Following increased scrutiny and protest, The Daily Texan issued a formal apology for running a controversial editorial cartoon about Trayvon Martin
Image courtesy dailytexanonline.com

Texan Issues Formal Apology for Trayvon Martin Cartoon

The editors from The Daily Texan issued an apology regarding the controversial Trayvon Martin cartoon the paper published on Tuesday.

The cartoonist, Stephanie Eisner, no longer works for the paper.

In their apology, the student editors admit to showing “a failure in judgment.” Yesterday the editors of the Texan met with angry students and protestors to discuss the paper’s decision to publish the cartoon and the editorial team’s oversight in recognizing the sensitive nature of the cartoon.

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Texas
12:45 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

Rusty Hardin Picked For Prosecutor In Morton Case

Michael Morton hearing on February 10, 2012 at the Williamson Co. Courthouse.
Photo by: Spencer Selvidge/Texas Tribune

Houston criminal defense lawyer Rusty Hardin will be the special prosecutor in the court of inquiry looking into possible misconduct in the case of Michael Morton, who was wrongfully convicted in 1987 of bludgeoning his wife to death. 

This won't be Hardin's first high-profile case. The former Harris County prosecutor has represented Roger Clemens, J. Howard Marshall's estate in the Anna Nicole Smith lawsuit, and, during the Enron scandal, accounting firm Arthur Andersen. 

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Texas
2:09 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

State Seeks Gag Order in 1986 Murder Case

Mark Norwood being led into court for the first time on Jan. 18th 2011. He is charged with the 1986 murder of Christine Morton.
Photo by Spencer Selvidge, Texas Tribune

GEORGETOWN — Attorneys for the Texas attorney general's office today asked Williamson County state district Judge Burt Carnes to issue a gag order in the case of Mark Alan Norwood, the 57-year-old Bastrop resident who is facing trial in the 1986 murder of Christine Morton.

"There exists an ongoing serious and imminent threat to the integrity of the administration of justice in these causes as a result of such extrajudicial statements," Assistant Attorney General Lisa Tanner wrote in the motion seeking to silence parties in the case.

Judge Barnes said he would take the motion under advisement.

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Texas
12:39 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Ft Worth Judge To Lead Ken Anderson Court of Inquiry

Michael Morton hearing on February 10, 2012 at the Williamson Co. Courthouse.
Photo by Spencer Selvidge, Texas Tribune

Tarrant County state district Judge Louis Sturns will lead a court of inquiry to investigate allegations of criminal prosecutorial misconduct against former prosecutor Ken Anderson, who saw to the wrongful murder conviction of Michael Morton in 1987.

Morton was exonerated of his wife's 1986 bludgeoning death in October after DNA tests confirmed his innocence. Defense lawyers have alleged that the wrongful conviction would not have happened and Morton would not have lost 25 years in prison if Anderson, who is now a Williamson County judge, had not deliberately withheld evidence that indicated his innocence at the time of the 1987 trial.

“This is a historic moment for Texas justice," said John Raley, the Houston lawyer who has worked pro bono on Morton's case for seven years. "We are confident that Judge Sturns will handle this important case with the seriousness and probity demonstrated by Judge [Sid] Harle and [Texas Supreme Court] Justice [Wallace] Jefferson.”

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Austin
4:34 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

Judge Orders Court of Inquiry for Morton Prosecutor

Photo by Callie Richmond, Texas Tribune

GEORGETOWN — Judge Sid Harle said today he will recommend that Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson convene a court of inquiry to review a slew of evidence against former Williamson County prosecutor Ken Anderson and determine whether there is probable cause to press criminal charges of prosecutorial misconduct related to his work in 1987 to secure a wrongful murder conviction that sent Michael Morton to prison for life.

In addition to allowing a full public airing of the evidence, the Bexar County state district judge said the unique legal proceeding would allow Anderson, who is now a district judge, the opportunity to clear his name.

“The only method and venue I know of for that to occur and for Mr. Morton’s interests to be served” is a court of inquiry, Harle said.

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