Posted on October 4, 2011 at 6:32 PM
Tuesday, Oct 4 at 7:04 PM
GEORGETOWN, Texas -- The appeal hearing of convicted killer Michael Morton brought out familiar faces from the 1987 trial.
When Michael Morton entered the courtroom in Williamson County Tuesday he wore a big smile. Once seated, he looked up and breathed a sigh of relief. Then visiting Judge Sid Harle told him, "You do have my sympathies. You do have my apologies.”
With that, Morton was free on bond after spending 25 years in prison for the 1986 bludgeoning death of his wife Christine.
In the back of the courtroom sat Lou Bryan, one of the 12 jurors who helped convict him.
KVUE spoke with her shortly before the hearing. She says she felt compelled to drive from her Round Rock home to see Morton freed.
"Until this morning when I saw the headline, I thought he was still guilty,” she said.
News reports of the discovery of DNA on a bandana matching that of a convicted felon in California, coupled with the Innocence Project's claims of suppressed evidence shocked her to her core.
"It's criminal that I didn't know all of these things that were never introduced to us,” she said.
According to the Innocence Project, the prosecution withheld key findings including a taped interview with a family member saying Morton’s three-year-old son who witnessed the crime saw a man other than his father killing his mom. The Innocence Project says the use of Christine’s credit card after her death and a cashed check in her name were also never presented to jurors.
The mission of the Innocence Project is now to learn why evidence was withheld from the jury.
Ken Anderson prosecuted the case. He now is a district court judge in Williamson County. KVUE attempted to contact him, but was unsuccessful.
"This story is not over about the concealing of evidence. The story is ongoing. Stay tuned,” said defense attorney John Raley.
Bryan’s thoughts are now with Morton and his family.
"I've been crying all day. You know, 25 years is a long time,” Bryan said. "He probably just doesn't know how to cope what's going on right this second; I guess I feel the same way. I feel for him. I really do."
The decision to overturn Morton's indictment now rests in the hands of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Their decision could come in 30 days.