Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Case of the Bloody Bandana

by C.L. Phillips

1986. You're investigating a murder.  A young wife is bludgeoned to death. Her three year old son is a witness, tells his maternal grandmother "Daddy wasn't home.  A monster killed Mommy."  Grandma tells the primary investigator.  A bloody bandana is found on an adjacent construction site.

At trial, the primary investigator is never asked to testify.  The bloody bandana is withheld.  DNA testing is not available.  Daddy is convicted and receives a life sentence.

2005.  The Innocence Project requests DNA testing on the bandanna.  What would you do?

Williamson County District Attorney James Bradley refused the request for six years.  When the DNA test was finally performed, DNA from another man, a suspect in several other murders was found along with the victim's blood.

Now what do you do?

2011. Michael Morton is a free man, released on his own recognizance bond while paperwork flows through the great halls of justice in Texas.

But that's not why I am writing about Michael Morton.  Nope.  DNA is nice, but if you'd been watching the live streaming video when Michael, now fifty-seven years old, hugged his mother and father for the first time in twenty-five years as a free man, you'd know why I'm writing.

Is there any greater power than love?  Imagine Michael's mother and father.   The strength of their love for their son, their unwavering support in the face of insurmountable opposition.  I guess we know where Michael got his strength.

And now freedom.  And a real hug from your mother and father.  Never stop believing.


Kelly Robinson said...

You might want to edit the reference to "Michael Moore." (And you can delete my comment. I'll stop back by and leave a better one. Darn typos!)

C.L. Phillips said...


Thanks for the typo catch. Got it corrected.


C.L. Phillips said...

And here's a link with video that explains the case better than I ever could :

Kelly Robinson said...

I definitely teared up. Anyone human would, I think.

C.L. Phillips said...


Thanks for the kind words and welcome to Working Stiffs.

What drew me to this story is the fact that Michael Morton was offered parole if he would express remorse, akin to an admission of guilt.

He refused saying his integrity was the only thing he had left.