Alleged Morton Killer Indicted for Unsolved Austin Murder

Norwood charged with 1988 murder of Debra Baker

Nearly 25 years after Debra Baker was found bludgeoned to death in her Austin home, Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg today announced that a grand jury has indicted Mark Alan Norwood for capital murder in connection with Baker's death.

Norwood is currently awaiting trial in Williamson County for the murder of Christine Morton, who in 1986 was found murdered in her home near Georgetown.

Michael Morton spent nearly a quarter-century behind bars convicted of murdering his wife Christine, until DNA testing performed last year – despite years of objections by outgoing Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley – found Norwood's DNA mingled with Christine's blood on a bandana found not far from the couple's home. Subsequent DNA testing matched Norwood's DNA to evidence from the Baker case. "It has been excrutiating for all of us who loved Debra to wait for this day," reads a statement from the Baker family. "Now, we finally have a face to put with her tragic murder. It is difficult for us to process the reality that Debra might still be with us if evidence in the Morton case had been handled in the manner required by law."

Indeed, the process of exoneration for Morton uncovered evidence that had been available to police and prosecutors back in 1986 that strongly suggested someone other than Morton was responsible for Christine's death. That information was not acted upon; then-D.A. Ken Anderson, now a sitting district judge, will face a rare court-of-inquiry proceeding next month, where he will face charges that he deliberately concealed exculpatory evidence from Morton's defense.

For the Baker family, the road to justice is only beginning. "We understand this process may take even longer but at least the end of the legal road is near," reads the family's statement. "We will each hold our own memories of Debra in our hearts as we participate in the difficult process of bringing her killer to justice."

READ MORE
More Courts
It's Official: Paxton Indicted
It's Official: Paxton Indicted
Texas AG's mugshot taken

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 3, 2015

End of the Silk Road for the Dread Pirate Roberts
End of the Silk Road for the Dread Pirate Roberts
Online blackmarket founder Ross Ulbricht faces 20 years

Richard Whittaker, Feb. 5, 2015

More Wrongful Conviction
Fran Keller Released From Prison
Fran Keller Released From Prison
After more than 20 years, Keller is home for the holidays

Jordan Smith, Nov. 26, 2013

Can Keller Conviction Stand Without Physical Evidence?
Can Keller Conviction Stand Without Physical Evidence?
Hearing in Austin ritual abuse case questions evidence of sexual abuse

Jordan Smith, Aug. 27, 2013

More by Jordan Smith
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
Motoreum's Yusuf & Antonio talk about the biz and their reality TV debut

May 22, 2014

APD Brass Shifts Up, Down, Across
APD Brass Shifts Up, Down, Across
Musical chairs at Downtown HQ

May 9, 2014

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Courts, Cops, Debra Baker, Michael Morton, Mark Alan Norwood, wrongful conviction, DNA, prosecutorial misconduct, Ken Anderson, John Bradley

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, SXSW Daily Edition

Our latest from SXSW 2016, delivered March 11-20

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways