GEORGETOWN, Texas -- On Tuesday 57-year-old Michael Morton took his first steps as a free man. In less than five minutes, District Judge Sid Harle had agreed to his release.
Harle told him that if a court of appeals determined Morton’s case to be erroneous, that he had his apologies.
“We do not have a perfect system of justice,” the judge told him. “But we do have the best system that is available in the world.”
Through it all, Morton was upbeat and smiling. He waved to his parents who sat in the front row. He often looked across the packed courtroom for faces he recognized.
After his hearing, Morton spoke briefly with reporters. He took no questions and proved that he still had a sense of humor.
“Colors seem real bright to me right now,” he said. “And women are real good looking. There is not a lot I can say with this hanging over my head. There is a lot you want to ask me.”
He referred to his defense team as “angels.”
Morton could have spent the rest of his life in prison had it not been for new DNA evidence. It linked a bandana found near the Morton’s home to a Travis County murder that happened in 1988.
Investigators now believe the man who killed Morton’s wife Christine may have been a serial killer who killed at least one other woman, maybe more. The investigation is ongoing. At this point they are only referring to the man as a “John Doe.”
Morton’s only son Eric was just three years old at the time of his mother’s murder. He was not in the courtroom Tuesday.
Father and son are expected to be reunited soon.