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Williamson County Grand Jury Indicts Mark Norwood

Mark Alan Norwood was indicted by a Williamson County grand jury for the murder of Christine Morton in 1986.
Photo by Spencer Selvidge/Texas Tribune
Mark Alan Norwood was indicted by a Williamson County grand jury for the murder of Christine Morton in 1986.

A Williamson County grand jury today returned a capital murder indictment against 57-year-old Bastrop resident Mark Alan Norwood in the 1986 murder of Christine Morton, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced.

“An indictment in a cold case cannot bring back the life that was unnecessarily taken, but this is a big step toward answering long unresolved questions for the crime victim’s family,” Abbott said in a press release.

Christine Morton's husband, Michael Morton, was wrongfully convicted of her murder in 1987 and served 25 years of a life sentence in prison. DNA testing confirmed that Christine Morton's blood was mixed with Norwood's hair on a blue bandana found about 100 yards from their north Austin home, where she was killed. Further DNA tests linked Norwood to the murder of Debra Masters Baker, another Austin woman who was killed in a very similar manner in 1988. 

Michael Morton was released from prison in October after his lawyers presented Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley with testing results that linked Norwood to both murders. Norwood is considered a suspect in the Baker murder, but has not been charged with that crime.

Norwood's lawyer, Russell Hunt Jr., has said that his client is innocent of both killings and that he plans to fight the murder charge. 

The grand jury indictment charges Norwood with one count of capital murder in the course of committing or attempting to commit burglary. If he is convicted, Norwood could face life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

Brandi Grissom joined the Tribune after four years at the El Paso Times, where she acted as a one-woman Capitol bureau during the last two legislative sessions. Grissom won the Associated Press Managing Editors First-Place Award in 2007 for using the Freedom of Information Act to report stories on a variety of government programs and entities, and the ACLU of Texas named her legislative reporter of the year in 2007 for her immigration reporting. She previously served as managing editor at The Daily Texan and has worked for the Alliance Times-Herald, the Taylor Daily Press, the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung and The Associated Press. A native of Alliance, Neb., she has a degree in history from the University of Texas.
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