Man formally cleared of wife's murder

Dec. 20, 2011 at 5:45 PM
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GEORGETOWN, Texas, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- A Texas judge praised a man wrongly convicted of killing his wife for keeping up his fight for justice during 25 years in prison.

Michael Morton was formally declared innocent Monday, The Austin American-Statesman reported. District Judge Sid Harle signed an order dismissing the charges against him.

Morton, whose conviction was overturned by a higher court, has been free for weeks.

Harle delayed ruling on Morton's motion for a court of inquiry to investigate whether Ken Anderson, who prosecuted Morton in 1987 in Williamson County, concealed evidence from the defense.

Barry Scheck, a lawyer with the Innocence Project, said these include a statement from Christine Morton's mother that the couple's 3-year-old son said his father was not home when his mother was beaten and that a check stolen from the home was cashed and Christine's ATM card used after her death.

The judge gave Anderson, now a district judge, an opportunity to respond to the motion.

Harle called the combination of Christine Morton's killing and her husband's wrongful conviction "a horrendous tragedy." He said Morton showed resolve when he turned down an offer of parole if he admitted the killing.

"Mr. Morton, you and your family are frankly an inspiration to me," Harle said.

Another man, Mark Baker, has now been charged with killing Christine Morton and is also a suspect in the killing of Deborah Baker, who was beaten to death two years later. Baker's family has joined Morton's call for an inquiry.

Topics: Ken Anderson
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