KEYE-TV - Search Results
Christine Morton's Brother Testifies In Norwood Trial
by Ayan Mittra, Texas Tribune
SAN ANGELO - Christine Morton's brother took the witness stand Wednesday in the trial of Mark Norwood, telling jurors how he found the blue bandana that had DNA linking Norwood to the 1986 murder of his sister.
John Kirkpatrick testified that he found the bandana - which had his sister's blood and biological evidence from Norwood - at a construction site about 100 yards from the Mortons’ North Austin home on Aug. 14, 1986, the day after she was murdered.
Wednesday was the second day of testimony in the trial of Norwood, who is accused of beating Christine Morton to death. Her husband Michael Morton was wrongly convicted of the crime in 1987. He spent nearly 25 years in prison before DNA evidence showed he was innocent. Norwood, who has pleaded not guilty, could face life in prison if convicted.
On Wednesday morning, Kirkpatrick gave sometimes-tearful testimony about his sister and the investigation of her murder.
Kirkpatrick recalled the day his sister was murdered and the phone call he received from his father. "'I'm going to tell you the worst news you're ever going to hear in your life,'" he said his father told him before informing him that his younger sister had been murdered.
A marine biologist, Kirkpatrick described how he used his training to gather the bandana as a piece of evidence, placing it in a plastic bag for police after finding it.
He testified that on the day after the murder, he was frustrated because his impression was that police weren't doing enough in their investigation. So he began trying to re-create the killer's movements. "As far as I was concerned, this was an outside intruder that had come in and killed my sister," he said. "It seems so obvious."
In trying to re-create the murderer’s moves, he found the bandana on the street. He demonstrated to the jury using a white handkerchief how he gently picked it up, trying not to disturb evidence that might be on the bandana. "I immediately knew it was something," he said. "It was just there by itself waiting for me to find it."
Lawyers for Norwood sought to create questions about whether the bandana could have been contaminated, asking Kirkpatrick questions about the condition of the evidence, how he gathered it and how it was transferred to police.
For the first time in the trial, there was an accidental mention of Michael Morton's wrongful conviction in front of the jury. During his testimony, Kirkpatrick explained that for the last quarter-century, he had tried to put his sister’s murder out of his mind.
"Initially, Mike Morton was the guilty party. And he was in prison," Kirkpatrick said. The reference drew an objection from prosecutor Lisa Tanner that was sustained, and there was no further mention of Morton’s conviction or exoneration.
Norwood's trial is expected to last two weeks.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2013/03/20/christine-mortons-brother-testifies-norwood-trial/.