Two brutal killings that occurred about two years aside left the town of Austin, Texas, shell shocked. First, the homicide of Christine Morton in 1986, for which her husband, Michael, was convicted. In 1988, Debra Baker was discovered killed beneath eerily related circumstances, just for it to be solved greater than twenty years later. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Detective Diaries: Guilty Until Proven Innocent’ delves into the 2 circumstances that had extra in widespread than simply the circumstances. Michael, who at all times maintained his innocence, was finally exonerated due to DNA proof. So, let’s discover out what occurred in these circumstances then, we could?
How Did Christine Morton and Debra Baker Die?
Christine married Michael Morton in 1979, they usually had a son collectively named Eric. At the time of the incident, they’d been residing in Austin and, on the evening of August 12, 1986, had gone out to have a good time Michael’s thirty second birthday. The following day, a neighbor noticed Eric, round three years previous, strolling within the entrance yard. When she went into the Morton dwelling, she discovered 31-year-old Christine useless within the bed room. She had been bludgeoned no less than eight occasions with a blunt wood object. There was a blue suitcase and a wicker basket over her physique.
On January 13, 1988, 34-year-old Debra Baker hadn’t proven as much as work, prompting her mom to test on her. Like in Christine’s case, Debra was discovered overwhelmed to demise in her mattress, struggling no less than six hits to her head, and pillows have been positioned over her. Debra additionally lived in Austin, and a few gadgets have been lacking from her dwelling. She had a fractured cranium and defensive accidents to her palms. The proof from these two circumstances would later implicate just one individual, however that took over twenty years to occur.
Who Killed Christine Morton and Debra Baker?
When Christine’s case was being investigated, her husband was initially questioned. The grocery retailer employee informed the police that he left dwelling at round 5:30 AM to get to work. When Michael went to the daycare heart to choose up his son later within the afternoon, he realized that Christine had been murdered. About six weeks later, Michael was positioned beneath arrest for the slaying. There wasn’t any bodily proof that tied Michael to the crime. He had no felony report both and had handed two lie detector checks. But regardless of that, the case went to trial.
At Michael’s trial in 1987, the prosecution claimed that he killed Christine in a rage as a result of she refused to have intercourse with him the evening earlier than. An important piece of testimony got here from the medical expert, who acknowledged that based mostly on Christine’s abdomen contents, she was killed between 1:30 AM and 6:00 AM on the morning of August 13. Michael pleaded his innocence and claimed that it may have been an intruder. Nevertheless, the jury discovered him responsible.
About 11 months after Michael’s conviction, Debra Baker was discovered useless in her dwelling in Austin. The authorities checked out her estranged husband as a attainable suspect, however he was dominated out. Debra was alone that day since her husband had their children. The police didn’t have every other leads regarding this vicious assault, and finally, it went chilly. Debra’s homicide got here to the fore but once more when the Innocence Project took up Michael’s case.
Michael’s legal professionals then found that a number of proof that might have forged doubt over his guilt was concealed from his protection and was by no means produced in courtroom. There was additionally a blue bandana that was discovered about 100 yards from the Mortons’ dwelling. When Michael’s group needed to check the bandana for DNA proof in 2005, they have been apparently fought at each step of the best way by then Williamson County District Attorney James Bradley. Eventually, an appeals courtroom ordered the check to undergo. In 2011, the evaluation revealed that the bandana had Christine’s DNA and one other unidentified profile however no hint of Michael’s DNA.
When the profile was run by means of CODIS, it led to Mark Alan Norwood, a profession felony with a protracted rap sheet. He was arrested quickly after and charged with Christine’s homicide. Furthermore, pubic hair collected from Debra’s crime scene matched Mark’s profile, seemingly fixing the decades-old case. He was additionally recognized to reside within the space across the time Debra was killed. Mark was tried and convicted of each the murders and was sentenced to life in jail.
Where is Michael Morton Now?
After DNA proof implicated Mark, Michael was exonerated after which launched from jail in October 2011, when he was 57 years previous. After nearly 25 years in jail, Michael was a free man. He mentioned later, “I know there are a lot of things you want to ask me. I will say this: colors seem real bright to me now, and the women are real good looking.” After his launch, Michael lived together with his mother and father for some time earlier than shifting to Kilgore, Texas. He has since reconnected together with his son, Eric.
Michael married Cynthia May Chessman in March 2013, they usually now reside in Texas. He additionally wrote a e-book, ‘Getting Life: An Innocent Man’s 25-Year Journey from Prison to Peace,’ launched in 2014. In 2013, the then-Texas Governor Rick Perry signed the Michael Morton Act into regulation, which “will allow Texas’ criminal justice system to be more responsive to a case, even after it has been tried, by ensuring a more open discovery process.”
Read More: Where is Mark Norwood Now?