Lehmberg V. Travis County Court Case

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Soon after, Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg contacted Harle to request an appointment. The judge—who was in the midst of a capital murder trial in his home district—elected to speak to her by phone instead, but he had a court reporter transcribe the exchange, which took place on September 16. During a hearing in Georgetown ten days later, he provided a sealed transcript of the conversation to Morrison, Raley, Jernigan, and Roberts and called a recess during which the attorneys could read it. The transcript contained an earth-shattering bit of information: a pubic hair that had been recovered from Debra Baker’s bed in 1988 did, in fact, match Norwood’s DNA profile.
“I remember screaming a lot as we read that transcript,” Morrison told me.
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The report had been written by a sheriff’s deputy the day after John Kirkpatrick had turned the bandana over to investigators. In the report, the deputy stated that he too had seen the bandana while earlier canvassing the area, but he justified not gathering it as evidence by explaining that he had not noticed any blood on it. (The stains were small and easy to overlook.) Based on that report, the DA’s office put forth a far-fetched theory: that Christine’s blood had gotten onto the bandana after John picked it up, when he returned to the Morton home. (How, exactly, John had managed to get whatever dried blood remained at the house onto the bandana was not explained—nor was it explained how a hair of Christine’s had come to be found on the bandana.) In other words, even if Norwood had dropped the bandana, that did not make him Christine’s killer.
But the position that the DA’s office had taken was untenable. By then both Morrison’s investigators and Williamson County sheriff’s deputies had managed to locate Norwood—he was found living with his mother thirty miles east of Austin in the town of Bastrop—lending the reinvestigation of the case a new urgency. With local media reporting that
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(Bradley, who was appointed by Governor Perry to head the Texas Forensic Science Commission, had openly disparaged Scheck’s efforts to examine whether Willingham had been wrongly convicted using flawed forensic science.) But during an intense weekend of phone calls back and forth, Bradley finally relented to Scheck’s terms. Bradley agreed not only to release Michael on bond while the Court of Criminal Appeals considered his claim of actual innocence but also to allow Michael’s attorneys, during that time, to conduct a court-supervised investigation into possible misconduct in the case. The unusual arrangement would allow them to question Anderson, Wood, and others under
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