Hours of a grueling taped deposition played before the court of inquiry of District Judge Ken Anderson in Williamson County Tuesday.
The former district attorney is answering allegations he withheld key information during a 1987 murder trial -- evidence attorneys for Michael Morton say led to Morton's wrongful conviction.
The now 58-year-old man was released from prison in 2011 after DNA from another suspect was properly identified. Before that, Morton spent more than 24 years behind bars for killing his wife Christine, who was bludgeoned to death in the couple’s bedroom in the summer of 1986.
During the October 2011 deposition, Anderson was pressed on why certain material was not handed over to the court as instructed by the judge during Christine’s original murder trial.
The court also heard from Kimberly Gardner, one of Anderson’s assistant district attorneys at the time of Morton’s trial. She recalled for the court a 1986 discussion about Mrs. Morton’s murder.
"I was there and Ken was talking," she said. “I remember him leaning up against a door jamb which makes me think I am in an office and with his arms crossed he says, ‘The kid thinks a monster killed his mother'."
In his 2011 deposition, Anderson denied having knowledge that Morton’s then-three-year-old son Eric had seen the murder and described the attacker as a “monster.”
"If there was information of Eric seeing the monster, in our position there is no way on God's green earth I wouldn't have told the defense about it unless they would have already been talking about it," Anderson said in 2011.
Acting as district attorney at the time, Anderson is accused of withholding evidence which included a check cashed under Christine’s name after her death, and a conversation between Eric Morton, the couple’s son, and his grandmother in which the toddler said a “monster” killed his mom.
Anderson acknowledges he knows an innocent man was sent to prison, but denies breaking the law.
"Council, I am sick about this whole thing. It's your worst nightmare to have someone who is innocent get convicted,” Anderson said during the 2011 disposition. “I don't know how we got this far, but something different should have gone on.”
If the court of inquiry judge believes Anderson violated state law or courtroom rules, he is subject to criminal prosecution. The hearing is expected to last through the end of the week.