In a filing yesterday in federal court, the Innocence Project advocates for DNA testing in the case of Michael Morton, who has served two decades in Texas prison for a murder he has always said he didn’t commit. And Morton is joined in the lawsuit by the family of a woman who was killed in a remarkably similar unsolved crime. DNA testing and fingerprint analysis in both cases could exonerate Morton and solve McKinney’s murder, the Innocence Project says.
Morton was convicted of killing his wife in Williamson County, Texas in 1986, and sentenced to life in prison. Just a few years earlier, Mildred McKinney was killed in her home less than a mile from the Morton home in a strikingly similar crime. Now, McKinney’s daughter is joining Morton in pursuing DNA testing on evidence from both crime scenes.
“For more than three years, the local prosecutor has fought DNA and fingerprint testing that could prove Michael Morton’s innocence and finally solve both of these crimes,” said Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck. The Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law in New York, represents Morton with co-counsel John Raley of the Cooper & Scully law firm. “Patricia Stapleton and Michael Morton come from very different backgrounds, but they have a common goal to use science and every available law enforcement tool to finally reveal the truth in these cases and find justice for their loved ones.”