There will not be a ruling Friday on whether Ken Anderson engaged in prosecutorial misconduct in the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton.
Judge Louis Sturns, visiting from Tarrant County, has given attorneys for both sides three weeks to file additional affidavits and motions in the case. After that, Sturns will review a mountain of depositions, evidence and case law to reach his decision. It’s unknown exactly when he will make his ruling, but the judge hopes to finalize proceedings in 30 days.
Earlier in the day, Williamson County District Judge Anderson began to cry on the stand in what proved to be the last day of his court of inquiry. For the past five days, Judge Sturns has heard a case with more than 13,000 pages of evidence to decide if Anderson, a former Williamson County District Attorney, cheated Michael Morton out of a fair trial more than two decades ago.
Morton was found guilty of murder in 1987, and spent more than 24 years behind bars for the bludgeoning death of his wife Christine. He was cleared of the crime in 2011 by DNA evidence found at the crime scene.
On Thursday, Michael Morton stared directly at John Bradley when he testified. Bradley, also a former Williamson County District Attorney, refused for six years Morton’s requests to test a bloody bandana—the exact evidence which proved his innocence.
A 2011 DNA CODIS hit on that bandana tied Mark Alan Norwood to Christine’s murder in 1986. Bradley testified he had faith Ken Anderson violated no rules during the 1987 trial. Norwood is now charged with capital murder.
In a one-one-one interview with Morton, YNN’s John Salazar asked his thoughts on seeing a man that blocked critical evidence in his case.
"My son was a bit shattered through all this, my in-laws and family relationships are not all back together yet,” Morton said. “Also, this was the first time I have ever seen Bradley in the flesh and I have been working through a lot of stuff with Judge Anderson. This was an exercise in self-control."
Anderson just now told the court he "very strongly" believed Morton was guilty, but he also said he "wishes he was not the prosecutor in the case." He even told Morton that he has recently gained a glimpse into the free man’s struggles over the past two-and-half decades.
"I know what me and my family have been throughout the last 18 months, and it is hell,” Anderson said. “It doesn't even register in the same ball park as what you have been through, Mr. Morton, I can't say that I even feel your pain, but I have a pretty darn good idea how horrible things have been the last 18 months with horrible accusations and everything else."
Morton said despite his show of emotion and words of empathy on the stand, he still isn't convinced Anderson is aware of the magnitude of his alleged actions.
"While I always mentioned that I always knew what it was like to have everyone coming after you like this, in the media and the legal world, I am not sure he has a complete, and I am sure he would agree, but I am sure he does not have a complete grasp of what this is all about, emotionally and personally,” Morton said. “I understand that memories are finite, and this is not necessarily about people’s memories because it has been so long, but there is a record and that, I think in the end, will be what stands."
Anderson is formally charged with contempt of court, tampering with and fabricating evidence and tampering with a government record. If Judge Sturns finds him guilty of one or more of those, he could be charged with a crime and face his own trial.
In the video below, YNN's John Salazar delivers a mid-day report on the range of emotions Judge Anderson's expressed on the stand during the last day of his court of inquiry.
Michael Morton tells YNN's John Salazar what is like to see Judge Ken Anderson take the stand--the man who is accused of withholding key evidence more than two decades ago, evidence which could have preserved his innocence.