Graphic autopsy photos shown in Norwood trial


by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE News and Photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

Posted on March 21, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 15 at 4:08 PM

SAN ANGELO, Texas -- The capital murder trial of Mark Norwood for the 1986 murder of Christine Morton entered its fourth day Thursday.

The first witness called to the stand was a forensic scientist out of Dallas -- Jennifer Smith. She told jurors in detail how DNA evidence is tested. Smith specified how she tested DNA on two key pieces of evidence in the trial, a blue bandanna and a stolen handgun.

Special prosecutor Lisa Tanner says this evidence links 58-year-old Mark Norwood to Christine Morton's beating death. That evidence is also what freed Michael Morton after he wrongfully spent 25 years in prison for his wife's murder.

Morton isn't allowed inside the courtroom since he testified in the case, but he spoke briefly outside of the courtroom on Wednesday. He spoke to KVUE about the infamous blue bandanna, without which he might still be in prison.

"One of the lawyers with the Innocence Project have talked to me about all of the crazy things that have gone on and how one seemingly insignificant act can be so consequential," Morton said. "And since she is a self professed atheist she said 'You know, your case makes me believe in God.' But it is amazing how one little thing can have such an effect - I guess it's a butterfly effect."

Christine's brother, John Kirkpatrick, also testified in the case on Wednesday. He discovered the bandanna outside of the Morton home in 1986, a day after his sister was found dead.

The evidence wasn't brought up again until several years ago when Mark Norwood's DNA and Christine Morton's blood were found on the bandanna.

Then former medical examiner Dr. Roberto Bayardo took the stand. He described Morton's injuries and said there were wood chips found in her hair, bruises and cuts on her hand where she tried to protect herself, and a gaping wound to her head and mouth, her face unrecognizable.

Thursday images of those injuries were shown. Many family members left the room. Those who stayed sobbed quietly in the third row.

One of Morton's former neighbors also took the stand. He described the wooded area in their neighborhood in 1986.

Norwood is pleading not guilty in this case. Presiding Judge Burt Carnes expects the trial to go through next week, and he hopes to have everything wrapped up by Good Friday.

Norwood's trial was moved to San Angelo to ensure a fair trial. 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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