Tribpedia: Michael Morton

Michael Morton was a man wrongfully convicted of the brutal murder of his wife, Christine Morton, in 1986. He served nearly 25 years in prison before being exonerated in October 2011 when DNA evidence connected another man to the murder. 

Former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson handed Morton a life sentence in 1987 after a jury found him guilty ...

From Michael Morton's Wrongful Conviction to Exoneration (Timeline)

Michael Morton was released on a personal bond in October 2011 after spending nearly 25 years in prison for murdering his wife. DNA evidence ruled him out as Christine Morton's killer.
Michael Morton was released on a personal bond in October 2011 after spending nearly 25 years in prison for murdering his wife. DNA evidence ruled him out as Christine Morton's killer.

In the 30 years since Christine Morton was murdered, her husband Michael Morton has been wrongfully convicted of killing her, exonerated after 25 years behind bars, seen his wife's killer brought to justice and fought for sweeping changes to state forensics laws. Take a look back at Michael Morton's case, and the glimmers of light since his release. 

Michael Morton stands for his February 1987 mugshot (left) and a portrait 25 years later, taken at the Williamson County Courthouse on Feb. 6, 2013.
Michael Morton stands for his February 1987 mugshot (left) and a portrait 25 years later, taken at the Williamson County Courthouse on Feb. 6, 2013.

How Michael Morton’s Wrongful Conviction Has Brought Others Justice

Thirty years ago, a Williamson County murder set in motion a shoddy prosecution that led to the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton. It's a miscarriage in justice that's still felt in the state's criminal cases.

 

Michael Morton at the Texas Capitol in 2013.
Michael Morton at the Texas Capitol in 2013.

House Gives Early OK to Expanding DNA Testing

The Texas House on Monday gave early approval to expanding DNA testing in criminal cases, an effort to prevent the incarceration of innocent Texans like Michael Morton, who spent nearly 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

Senators John Whitmire, D-Houston, left, and Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, congratulate Michael Morton, right, at a court hearing in Georgetown on April 19, 2013. That day, a judge issued an arrest warrant for former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson, after finding probable cause to believe Anderson withheld critical evidence in Michael Morton's 1987 murder trial.
Senators John Whitmire, D-Houston, left, and Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, congratulate Michael Morton, right, at a court hearing in Georgetown on April 19, 2013. That day, a judge issued an arrest warrant for former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson, after finding probable cause to believe Anderson withheld critical evidence in Michael Morton's 1987 murder trial.

Bill Would Expand DNA Testing for Criminal Cases

Michael Morton, who spent nearly 25 years in prison for murdering his wife before DNA evidence exonerated him, said he wouldn’t have had access under current testing requirements to the evidence that set him free. A new bill by state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, would expand access to DNA testing in criminal cases.

Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signs Senate Bill 1611, known as the Michael Morton Act, which requires prosecutors to disclose evidence in criminal cases. Morton served nearly 25 years in prison for his wife's murder before he was exonerated in 2011.
Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signs Senate Bill 1611, known as the Michael Morton Act, which requires prosecutors to disclose evidence in criminal cases. Morton served nearly 25 years in prison for his wife's murder before he was exonerated in 2011.

Costs and Questions as TX Implements New Discovery Law

The Michael Morton Act is raising awareness about the importance of discovery in criminal cases, lawyers say. But both prosecutors and defense lawyers agree there are still some kinks to iron out.

Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signs Senate Bill 1611, known as the Michael Morton Act, which requires prosecutors to disclose evidence in criminal cases. Morton served nearly 25 years in prison for his wife's murder before he was exonerated in 2011.
Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signs Senate Bill 1611, known as the Michael Morton Act, which requires prosecutors to disclose evidence in criminal cases. Morton served nearly 25 years in prison for his wife's murder before he was exonerated in 2011.

Prosecutors Prepare to Open Their Files

As 2014 approaches, Texas district and county attorneys are preparing to implement a new law that aims to prevent wrongful convictions by requiring prosecutors to open their files to defense lawyers. 

 

Former Williamson County State District Judge Ken Anderson walks into the courtroom on Nov. 8, 2013. He was ordered to serve 10 days in jail and was forced to give up his law license.
Former Williamson County State District Judge Ken Anderson walks into the courtroom on Nov. 8, 2013. He was ordered to serve 10 days in jail and was forced to give up his law license.

Ken Anderson to Serve 9 Days in Jail

Ken Anderson, who oversaw Michael Morton’s wrongful murder conviction as a prosecutor, was sentenced to nine days in jail and will surrender his law license as part of a deal to resolve criminal charges and a civil lawsuit.

Judge Ken Anderson, l, sits at the defense table as the court of inquiry begins in Georgetown on April 19, 2013.
Judge Ken Anderson, l, sits at the defense table as the court of inquiry begins in Georgetown on April 19, 2013.

State Bar, Anderson Attorneys Make Case to Judge

Parties in a disciplinary case against the prosecutor who pursued Michael Morton’s since-overturned murder conviction will have to wait another week for a decision on whether they will go to trial.

Dennis Davis speaks during an interview at the C. T. Terrell Unit in Rosharon on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. Davis is serving 36 years in prison for the 1985 murder of Natalie Antonetti.
Dennis Davis speaks during an interview at the C. T. Terrell Unit in Rosharon on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. Davis is serving 36 years in prison for the 1985 murder of Natalie Antonetti.

Appeals Court Orders New Trial for Dennis Davis

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UPDATED: A Texas appeals court on Friday ordered a new trial for Dennis Davis, who is serving 36 years in prison for the 1985 murder of Natalie Antonetti of Austin. 

 

Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signs Senate Bill 1611, known as the Michael Morton Act, which requires prosecutors to disclose evidence in criminal cases. Morton served nearly 25 years in prison for his wife's murder before he was exonerated in 2011.
Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signs Senate Bill 1611, known as the Michael Morton Act, which requires prosecutors to disclose evidence in criminal cases. Morton served nearly 25 years in prison for his wife's murder before he was exonerated in 2011.

Perry Signs Michael Morton Act

With exoneree Michael Morton by his side, Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday signed a measure that aims to avoid wrongful convictions by preventing prosecutors from suppressing evidence.

 

 

Michael Morton at the Texas Capitol in 2013.
Michael Morton at the Texas Capitol in 2013.

Morton Act, DA Accountability Bill Head to Perry

House lawmakers on Tuesday approved two bills meant to ensure that wrongful convictions, like the one that Michael Morton behind bars for nearly 25 years, don't happen to others. The measures will stop next on Gov. Rick Perry's desk.

Michael Morton, at the Williamson County Courthouse on April 19, 2013, stands with state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, an author of the Senate Bill 1611, and Ellis' chief of staff, Brandon Dudley, who also worked on the legislation.
Michael Morton, at the Williamson County Courthouse on April 19, 2013, stands with state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, an author of the Senate Bill 1611, and Ellis' chief of staff, Brandon Dudley, who also worked on the legislation.

Discovery Bill Vote Comes on Brady Ruling Anniversary

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On the 50th anniversary of the landmark Brady v. Maryland decision, the Texas House is set to vote on a law that some legal experts say would ensure that the ruling’s tenets are carried out to help prevent wrongful convictions. 

Judge Ken Anderson (l) and Michael Morton (r)
Judge Ken Anderson (l) and Michael Morton (r)

House Panel Hears Testimony on "Michael Morton Act"

Just more than a week after the arrest of former prosecutor Ken Anderson, a committee of House lawmakers took up the "Michael Morton Act," which would require prosecutors to turn over evidence to defense lawyers in criminal cases.

Judge Ken Anderson, l, sits at the defense table as the court of inquiry begins in Georgetown on April 19, 2013.
Judge Ken Anderson, l, sits at the defense table as the court of inquiry begins in Georgetown on April 19, 2013.

Anderson Appeals, Citing Statute of Limitations

UPDATED: Williamson County state district Judge Ken Anderson has filed an appeal asking a court to rule that a warrant for his arrest should be void because it violates the statute of limitations.

Agreement Reached on Michael Morton Act

"It looks as if we have a deal," Michael Morton said after Wednesday afternoon negotiations with senators and lawyers on a measure that would require prosecutors to turn over evidence to defendants in criminal cases.

Slideshow: A Trial 26 Years Later

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A jury in March found Mark Alan Norwood guilty of the 1986 murder of Christine Morton, and he was sentenced to life in prison. This photo slideshow provides an overview of the timeline and characters in the tragic case.

 
Mark Norwood exits the Tom Green County Courthouse after jury selection for his trial, Mar 18, 2013.
Mark Norwood exits the Tom Green County Courthouse after jury selection for his trial, Mar 18, 2013.

After Decades, DNA Testing and a Conviction

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The prosecutor who secured Mark Norwood's murder conviction says that if Michael Morton had not fought from prison to prove his innocence in his wife's murder, the DNA testing that led to Norwood’s conviction might not have been done.

Slideshow: A Trial 26 Years Later

A jury in March found Mark Alan Norwood guilty of the 1986 murder of Christine Morton, and he was sentenced to life in prison. This photo slideshow provides an overview of the timeline and characters in the tragic case.  

Mark Norwood exits the Tom Green County Courthouse after jury selection for his trial, Mar 18, 2013.
Mark Norwood exits the Tom Green County Courthouse after jury selection for his trial, Mar 18, 2013.

Tears and Relief After Norwood Found Guilty

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.