Innocence Project Finds Another Innocent Man Convicted of Murder in Texas but Loses Fight to Boot Prosecutor for Bias
For the past 24 years, a man named Michael Morton has sat in a Texas prison cell after being arrested, tried, and convicted of his wife Christine’s homicide. According to the Innocence Project, Mr. Morton was wrongfully convicted, he is innocent of murdering his wife, and the prosecution shouldn’t be trusted to do the right thing now because they are biased and have already hidden eyewitness evidence that would clear the man.
Innocence Project Loses Hearing Before Trial Court Judge
Williamson District Court Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield will allow District Attorney John Bradley to remain on convicted murderer Michael Morton’s case – even though the Innocence Project doesn’t believe that prosecutor Bradley can be trusted to give Mr. Morton a fair trial. The Innocence Project filed a lawsuit on this very issue over in Williamson County, asserting that DA John Bradley is biased in the case and should not be allowed to represent the State of Texas in a matter where new evidence has been found that may well prove that Michael Morton is innocent of the crime for which he has been convicted.
The Innocence Project contends that the prosecutor, who was also the former chairman of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, is biased – arguing in a hearing before Judge Stubblefield earlier this week that Bradley is responsible for the calculated and intentional suppression of evidence that could clear Morton.
What’s the New Evidence That the Innocence Project Argues Clears Michael Morton?
It seems there is a bandanna which may free Mr. Morton. The Innocence Project argues that DNA evidence found on this bandanna exonerates Christine Morton’s husband as her killer.
The bandanna was found at the crime scene and it’s been setting in evidence for almost a quarter century. Today, scientists can distinquish between Christine Morton’s DNA – left with her hair, skin, blood, and sweat on the cloth, and that of another human’s DNA, which they believe to be her killer’s DNA.
The tests have already been done. The Texas Department of Public Safety has run these new DNA test results through the convicted-offender DNA database, which contains DNA data from across the country. It has already been confirmed that the DNA on that bandanna found at the crime scene does not match Mr. Morton: it’s a match for a man with a 3-state criminal record who has been arrested in California (and California authorities have double checked, confirming it’s their guy whose DNA is on that cloth found at the crime scene).
The Innocence Project wants to tie that new DNA evidence with a statement given by the Mortons’ young son Eric at the time of their investigation. Seems the 3 1/2 year old boy witnessed the murder and said his daddy was not home at the time of his mother’s death; instead, a “monster” was there, “hitting mommy.”
It’s a Matter of the Prosecution Concealing Evidence – Again.
The Innocence Project wanted John Bradley off the case and a Special Prosecutor appointed because they consider him biased then and now. They contend he cannot be fair in the Morton case because the son’s statement was not provided to the defense during the trial – that’s right, it was concealed from defense attorneys — and because Bradley has tried to thwart the DNA testing of the bandanna.
However, since John Bradley wasn’t the lead prosecutor on the case back then, it seems that the trial judge is going to let him stay on the case. The Innocence Project lost that battle this week.
One can only hope that the Innocence Project wins the war of getting this innocent man exonerated – and soon.
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