Less than two months after an assistant district attorney was shot to death outside the local courthouse, the Kaufman County District Attorney and his wife were discovered slain in their North Texas home March 30, leading some to suspect that the Texas law enforcement officials may have been targeted by a violent prison gang.
Twenty-six years after Christine Morton was bludgeoned to death in her bed, her killer was finally brought to justice Wednesday, when Mark Alan Norwood was found guilty of capital murder.
On the morning of January 8, a distinguished professor at Texas A&M University stood atop a concrete parking garage in College Station, sent a text message on his iPhone, and then leapt to his death.
On Thursday, the third day of testimony in the capital murder trial of Mark Norwood, the jury finally heard from the enigmatic figure who has been referenced a number of times this week by attorneys for both the state and the defense. Louis Homer Wann Jr—or “Sonny,” as he told special prosecutor Lisa Tanner to call him—did not actually appear in person; a videotaped deposition, which was recorded last fall, was played instead.
To careful observers of Michael Morton’s long search for justice, one of the biggest revelations of Mark Alan Norwood’s capital murder trial came late in the day Wednesday, when a Williamson County employee named Jennifer Smith took the stand. For much of the day, testimony had centered on the bloody blue bandana that had been found behind the Morton home in 1986 and was finally subjected to DNA testing in 2011.
When Michael Morton’s wife, Christine, was bludgeoned to death in her bed on August 13, 1986, two items went missing from their home: her purse and his .45 pistol. The mystery of what happened to the two items was never solved. That fall, after a botched investigation by the Williamson County sheriff’s department, Michael was charged with Christine’s murder. At his trial, then-D.A. Ken Anderson told jurors that Michael had killed his wife and then covered his tracks by staging a burglary.
A man on trial for murder in San Antonio allegedly hired a fellow inmate (by paying his bail) to kill the judge presiding over his case. Fortunately, the assassin took the money and decided to chill at home instead.
Fragrant rosemary bushes flanked the forties-era Oak Cliff home, and a handwritten note on the door said, “Knock loud!” I did, and a sixty-year-old woman with a squat frame and a spiky haircut opened the door and welcomed me in. “This is our little family,” Debra Starkey said, gesturing to two women at the dining room table drinking coffee. “This is Valerie and Regina.” Valerie was in pajama bottoms and a baggy top, and Regina wore a black sparkly sweater and square glasses. “They look like nice girls, don’t they?
Type “Texas” into Yandex, Russia’s largest search-engine, and you are in for a shock. In clip after clip from the evening news broadcast by the state-owned TV channel, grim-faced anchors paint a lurid picture of a “viciously abused” three-year-old named Max Shatto, “stuffed with psychotropic substances,” and covered in bruises and pronounced dead.