At a hearing yesterday, a Texas trial judge denied the Innocence Project’s request for a new prosecutor in the case of a Texas prisoner who has served 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife, despite new DNA evidence that provides proof of his innocence.
District Attorney John Bradley will stay on as prosecutor in the case of Michael Morton, who was convicted of murder in 1987 despite a lack of physical evidence linking him to the crime.
Morton spent the past six years fighting for DNA testing, which Bradley fought until the 3rd Court of Appeals ordered the test.
At yesterday’s hearing, details were revealed about the DNA evidence discovered on a bloody bandana found near the crime scene. Post-conviction DNA testing has identified a convicted offender in the national DNA databank as the man whose DNA is mixed with the blood and hair of the murder victim on the bandana.
District Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield warned prosecutors that he wanted the investigation to move quickly and set a September 27 court date to receive a status update. Stubblefield also said he would review the Innocence Project’s claims that prosecutors withheld evidence during Morton’s 1987 trial, particularly a transcript of a phone conversation between a sheriff’s investigator and the victim’s mother in which she said her grandson told her he witnessed the murder and that the killer was not his father.