Jurors learn of Debra Baker in Norwood trial



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Posted on March 22, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 26 at 5:18 AM

SAN ANGELO, Texas - There was a turn in the capitol murder trail of Mark Norwood Friday when the mother of another victim took the stand.

Norwood is connected in the 1986 beating death of Christine Morton and the 1988 murder of Debra Baker.

Prosecutors claim there's no doubt that Norwood is responsible for the two murders. They said in both cases Norwood's DNA links him to the crime scene.

Special Prosecutor Lisa Tanner filed an intent to introduce extraneous offenses this week, hoping to bring up other crimes that 58-year-old Norwood is connected to.

The extraneous offenses include the death of Debra Baker in 1988 in Travis County. The list also includes attempted capital murder in 1990 by hitting a woman with a piece of firewood, as well as causing the death of a man in Tennessee in 1980. There are also numerous other offenses such as burglary, drug possession and theft.

After brief debate without jurors present, presiding Judge Burt Carnes decided to allow it. Then for the first time, jurors heard the name "Debra Baker."

Baker was found beaten to death in her bed in 1988. Norwood's hair was found at the crime scene.

His DNA was also found on bloody blue bandanna two years earlier after Christine Morton was also found beaten to death in her bed.

The state says the crime scenes are another similarity. Both women were found in bed with pillows around them, jewelry left untouched on the bedside table, and wallets found on the floor with missing cash.

Baker's mother, 81-year-old Gertrude Masters, took the stand Friday. She described the scene in January 1988 when she discovered her daughter's body. She said Baker was a single mother of two who worked in real estate.

Next Baker's sister, Lisa Masters, testified. She told jurors Baker's home was about a block away from Justin Lane in Austin -- the street where Norwood lived at the time of the murder.

Friday also brought emotional testimony from Norwood's ex-wife.

Judy and Mark Norwood were married from 1983 to 2001. He is charged with the 1986 Williamson County murder of Christine Morton.

Judy testified that she ran away with Norwood at the age of 15, when he was about 27. They eventually married and had a son named Thomas.

Judy told the jury that the family moved from Tennessee to Austin in 1984. She says her husband lost his job as a carpet layer and wasn't home much. Judy stated that Norwood told her to not ask questions about where he was or when he would be home. Meanwhile Judy was working two jobs to make ends meet.

She also recalled a time that she forgot something and ran home from her night shift at Whataburger, only to find their young son running around the house alone. She says she is unsure of where Mark was.

Judy got emotional on the stand Friday, especially when a picture of Norwood and their son was put on display. Mark was standing in the background with a red bandanna hanging out of his pocket. Something prosecutors specifically pointed out to the courtroom.

A blue bandanna has been at the center of this case. It was found near the crime scene in 1986 and has Christine Morton and Mark Norwood's DNA on it. This DNA evidence is also what cleared Michael Morton of his wife's murder after being wrongfully convicted and spending 25 years in prison.

The trial will take a break for the weekend. Prosecutors hope to wrap up their case by Tuesday and end the trial by next Friday.

KVUE.com and KVUE News will have full coverage of Norwood's trial over the coming weeks. Check the website and download our FREE KVUE News mobile app for up-to-date coverage.

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