Norwood trial: Christine Morton's brother found critical evidence
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John Kirkpatrick, the brother of murder victim Christine Morton, testified Wednesday at the capital murder trial of Mark Alan Norwood, the man accused of beating Morton to death in 1986.
During the second day of testimony, Kirkpatrick said that he felt investigators did not conduct an adequate investigation into his sister's murder, especially on the day of her death.
He told the courtroom that in the days following, he began his own investigation, fearing detectives overlooked crucial clues needed to find Christine’s killer. Kirkpatrick said he started looking in the Morton home before moving the search into the backyard where he found two footprints near the home’s back fence.
The witness told the court he believed an intruder had jumped that fence before entering the Morton's Williamson County home along Hazelhurst Drive.
He said he then walked through a wooded area behind the property and found his way to the site of a home which was under construction at the time. Along the curb of Amanda Drive is where Kirkpatrick said he found the bloody blue bandana which—when finally tested nearly 25 years later—ultimately led authorities to the defendant.
In those years before the bandana was tested, Christine’s husband Michael Morton sat in prison, wrongfully convicted of the heinous crime. It was only after years fighting Williamson County authorities that Morton’s defense team could have the bandana tested for DNA evidence.
The blood and hair follicles tested on a bloody bandana matched DNA of both Christine Morton and the now 58-year-old Norwood.
Norwood’s defense team argued Kirkpatrick's handling of the bandana without plastic gloves could lead to contamination, resulting in bad DNA analysis.
It was revealed in court that Williamson County investigators had seen the bandana curbside on the day of the murder, but failed to collect it as evidence.
On Tuesday, special prosecutor Lisa Tanner introduced a new piece of evidence, a pistol they say was stolen by Norwood during the attack. Tanner told the jury he then sold the firearm to his friend Louis "Sonny" Wann. Norwood and Wann worked construction together the same year of Christine’s death.
Norwood was arrested in the fall of 2011 in Bastrop, where he was living with his mother and washing dishes at a local restaurant. He has also been charged in the Central Austin murder of Debra Baker, who was beaten to death in her home in 1988.