1988 murder trial resumes Wednesday

The Mark Norwood murder trial continued Wednesday.

TRAVIS COUNTY - Mark Norwood returned to the courtroom Wednesday to face charges in the 1988 beating death of Debra Baker.

Wednesday morning Judge Kocurek ruled that prosecutors can use three burglary cases from 1987 as evidence in this case. Norwood was convicted of theft in those cases after police found items in his home, and the victims positively identified the items as theirs. 

Prosecutors said the burglary cases will help show a possible motive as to why Norwood would have murdered Baker. The defense did not want the burglary cases used, saying it would paint Norwood in a negative light. 

"I remember he unlocked our front door and he said oh no, and that's when I thought what happened, and my whole apartment was empty, I had no furniture, nothing in my house," said Nell Osmar.

"It was like he had been shopping, he had been shopping at our home," said Jana Monroe.

Wednesday afternoon Irma Rios with the Houston Forensic Science Center took the state. She used to be an evidence analyst in the 1980s for DPS. She showed bloody bed sheets, and a towel from Baker's home. She said they were able to collect some hairs from both. 

Baker's mother and sister testified Tuesday that they were with her the night she died until almost midnight. The following day, Baker's employer called her mother when she didn't show up to work. Baker's mother then found her dead in her home.

Norwood's sister, Connie Hoff, insists he's not the killer. She believes he was accused as a result of bad police work.

Michael Morton was also in the courtroom Tuesday. He served about 25 years for the death of his wife, Christine Morton. DNA evidence finally freed him and led to the conviction of Norwood for Christine's death.

Prosecutors have linked Morton's and Baker's deaths, saying both women were young, brunette mothers killed with wooden objects while in bed. Norwood's DNA was also found close to each crime scene.

Follow reporter Christy Millweard for updates from the courtroom all day:


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