"This Is a Statement of Hard Facts"

Mark A. Norwood's letter from behind bars

Mark Norwood is currently serving a life sentence for the 1986 murder of Christine Morton, for which he was convicted in 2013 after the exoneration of Morton's husband, Michael. On Monday, Sept. 12, jury selection will begin in a second trial, this time for the 1988 murder of Debra Baker. The following is a letter Norwood wrote last week from the Travis County Correctional Complex and sent to the Chronicle, asking that it be published. – Chase Hoffberger

This Is a Statement of Hard Facts

They say I'm a murderer, a serial killer, and a monster. But I am not what they portray me to be. My family and I are among many others who have been victimized by a morally debased criminal justice system here in Texas.

It is often said, 'justice is blind.' But it is also deaf, dumb, and crippled to a point of being incapacitated from the neck up. Most people do not see a massive breakdown in the justice system. But it is definitely in trouble, in a serious way.

Michael Morton wrote a book and professed truth, innocence and justice in it, without knowing all of the hard facts. In the absence of hard facts, it leads to speculations and assumptions, which leads to false perceptions and interpretations. You are not supposed to draw to any conclusions, until you have all of the hard facts.

Little does anyone know, I was railroaded in Williamson County, just like Michael Morton was, back in 1986. Also, little does anyone know, my own defense attorney chose to withhold and conceal crucial and relevant evidence in my case and trial, that resulted in my conviction in Williamson County. And there were many other improprieties that took place in my trial, to substantiate my conviction.

I know the Baker family wants their day of justice to be served. And they want closure. Who wouldn't? But here again, little do they know, they have been misinformed and deceived by the law enforcement authorities of actual hard facts pertaining to their investigation in the case. Hopefully, these hard facts will come out in the trial. We'll see.

Some people think there are no such things as coincidences, just different perspectives. From one perspective, a series of individual events could appear totally random. From another perspective, the events could emerge as parts of an overall pattern. And yet, when viewed from a more cynical perspective, it could be perceived as just downright suspicious.

So, no matter how suspicious the evidence, and no matter how suspicious the circumstances, and there is absence of hard facts, it should not be a substitution for evidence. Suspicion is not conclusive and suspicions are a long way from real proof. Thinking that someone did the crime, or knowing someone did the crime, is two different things.

When law enforcement authorities has to fabricate a case to convict someone, that's crooked justice in my book. How about your book?

Justice can be arrived only by truth, not lies and deceit, that ignores truth in a court of law.

The prosecution is having to prove beyond a shadow of doubt, that I'm guilty. And I'm having to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that I'm innocent. In reality, beyond a shadow of doubt does not exist in a court of law anymore. There are no values attached to the prosecution, and they have little or no incentives to suffer a standard of certainty. If the hard facts are absent, the prosecution has to go by assuming, guessing, and speculating to produce hypothetical theories to make their case.

So the bottom line is, the prosecution will have it's way whether you are guilty or not. And people will let themselves be convinced of anything. And that's a hard fact.

Ask Michael Morton.

Download his letter here.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Mark Norwood
Norwood Murder Trial Nears Conclusion
Norwood Murder Trial Nears Conclusion
Jury expected to head out for deliberation by end of week

Chase Hoffberger, Sept. 23, 2016

Mark Norwood Returns to Court
Mark Norwood Returns to Court
Accused killer in 1988 murder now three weeks from second trial

Chase Hoffberger, Aug. 19, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Mark Norwood, Michael Morton, Debra Baker, 390th District Court, Mark A. Norwood

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle