Mark Woodworth spent nearly 20 years of his life behind bars for a murder he did not commit. He’s free now, but he may be tried a third time. Mark's fate lies in the hands of the Livingston County Prosecutor, Adam Warren, now that the Misouri Attorney General has been kicked off the case.
Mark was released from prison in February 2013 after the MO Supreme Court overturned his convictions - ruling that state prosecutors withheld evidence from the defense which would likely have resulted in a not guilty verdict. He was convicted not once, but twice in trials which judges deemed not worthy of confidence. But Attorney General Chris Koster has inexplicably decided to move forward on attempting to retry him for a third time.
As a law student researching Mark’s case, I know that the state’s case against Mark has no merit, this travesty persists and Mark’s life is still not his own.
On November 13, 1990, in Chillicothe, MO, Cathy and Lyndel Robertson were shot in their own home. Cathy was killed but Lyndel survived and when asked by authorities who could have killed his wife and attacked him, a hospitalized Lyndel Robertson initially named his daughter’s ex-boyfriend, Brandon.
Only 12 hours after the shooting police found Brandon and his hands tested positive for gunshot residue. He had also stashed a duffel bag in the trunk of a woman's car while staying at her apartment in the days after the killing. In the trunk, investigators discovered four .22-caliber bullet casings, the same kind used in the Robertson home.
Then attention turned to Mark Woodworth who was 16 at the time and lived with his parents across the road from the Robertsons. Lyndel Robertson and Mark’s father were partners in a farming operation, though they had falling out.
A corrupt private investigator was hired by Roberston who was being sued by Mark’s father at the time. This investigator had previously been forced to resign his position as a detective when the FBI produced information that he was "promoting prostitution.” To build a case against Mark, he conspired with a politically ambitious Deputy to sneak the entire Sheriff's investigative file from the Sheriff's office and to keep his involvement a secret from the Sheriff and honest members of the Highway Patrol.
After the Missouri Supreme Court vacated Mark's convictions last January, the Missouri Attorney General announced that they would seek a 3rd trial, even though the new judge assigned has excluded almost all of their so-called "evidence" based on the bogus investigation and the "especially odious" conduct of the private investigator.
Mark is trying to move on - he is now married and helps run his family company, Woodworth Manufacturing, which makes custom-made trailers of all sizes and allows him to use welding skills he learned in prison.
On January 29, 2013 Judge Hull ordered the Attorney General to be removed from this case. The case is under the review of the Livingston County Prosecutor. Please ask him to drop the charges.
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