In a long-awaited segment, the CBS news program 60 Minutes will air its story this Sunday on the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton.
The former grocery store manager was convicted in 1987 of murdering his wife, Christine Morton. Morton was sentenced to life in prison and served 25 years before DNA tests last year proved his innocence and connected another man to the brutal crime. Morton was freed in October and officially exonerated in December.
The man whose DNA was connected to Christine Morton’s murder was also found at the scene of another Austin murder in 1988. Mark Norwood, a 57-year-old Bastrop dishwasher, has been indicted for Christine Morton’s murder and is considered a suspect in the death of Debra Masters Baker.
Following Morton’s exoneration, Bexar County State District Judge Sid Harle authorized a court of inquiry to examine whether the prosecutor who oversaw Morton’s conviction commtited criminal misconduct in his handling of the case. Morton’s lawyers argue that former district attorney Ken Anderson, who is now a state district judge, deliberately hid evidence that pointed to his innocence during the original trial. That evidence includes a transcript of a phone conversation between a sheriff’s investigator and Morton’s mother-in-law in which she tells the officer that the couple’s 3-year-old son described watching a “monster” — who was not his father — beat his mother. The judge and jury also never saw police reports in which neighbors reported that they saw a man in a green van who appeared to be casing the home. They also didn’t see reports from a store owner in San Antonio who said someone tried to fraudulently use Christine Morton’s credit card after she died.
Anderson, who was appointed to the bench by Gov. Rick Perry, has vociferously denied that he did anything wrong in the prosecution, and he has said that he regrets that the justice system failed Morton. His lawyers have said that Anderson is looking forward to the court of inquiry as an opportunity to clear his name.
Tarrant County Judge Luis Sturns has been appointed to oversee the unusual process of investigating allegations of misconduct against a sitting official. And last week, Sturns appointedhigh-profile Houston defense lawyer Rusty Hardin to act as special prosecutor in the case.
Click here to watch a preview of the 60 Minutes episode.