GEORGETOWN, Texas -- A packed courtroom listened intently during the court of inquiry being held on the first floor of the Williamson County Courthouse on Monday.
Just before noon, dramatic moments captured on tape showed Michael Morton recalling the 25 years he spent wrongfully incarcerated.
Special prosecutor Rusty Hardin asked Morton, "What were those 25 years like?"
Morton responded, "Brutal. I always said, 'I never liked it.' After a couple decades I got used to it. I got used to the lack of privacy, restriction of movement, the violence, forced associations, lack of seeing my son. The million and one little things you take for granted. Clothes that are comfortable, people that are honest, food that tastes good, a comfortable bed to sleep in."
Hardin asked why Morton seems so forgiving and calm.
"Grace of God. I don't want revenge. I don't want anything ill for Judge Anderson. I don't. But I also realize that there are consequences for our actions and there needs to be accountability because without that every single thing falls apart," Morton replied on the stand.
Hardin asked Morton, "What do you request for this judge?"
"I ask that you do what needs to be done," Morton said as he turned to visiting Judge Louis Sturns of Ft. Worth. "At the same time, be gentle with Judge Anderson," Morton requested.
Morton is the prosecution's first witness. Hardin began just after 9 a.m. asking Morton to recall events surrounding his wife's 1986 murder. Morton said he was 32 years old at the time. His wife was 31 and his son was just three years old.
Hardin spent nearly two hours reading a transcript of several conversations, including information from Morton's son seeing a "monster" hurt mommy when the crime took place.
Hardin asked Morton, "Did you kill your wife?" Morton replied "No."
According to a transcript entered into evdience at the time of the murder, Morton's three-year-old son asked Morton's mother-in-law, "Who was the man in the shower with his clothes on? Large stomach, blue shirt, purple shirt, 3 years old?"
Hardin asked Morton, "At anytime during trial or while you were in the penetentiary, were you aware your mother-in-law told the police [this] 11 days after your wife's murder?" Morton repied, "No."
Hardin said a tape recording and transcript of this conversation were in the Williamson County Sheriff's Department's file but were not entered into evidence.
Prosecutors presented new evidence in the case, inlcuding a purse that belonged to Morton's wife that for two decades Morton believed was stolen.
Hardin says the goal of the Court of Inquiry is to determine whether Ken Anderson committed the offense of contempt of court, whether he tampered or fabricated physical evidence and whether he tampered with government records.
Courts of inquiry do not have the power to sentence those whom they investigate. If the judge in a court of inquiry finds there is reason to believe a crime was committed, the case is referred to a higher court for prosecution.