Innocent Inmate Michael Morton On How He Lost 25 Yrs Of His Life [Video]
Imagine being out to dinner with the love of your life and your beautiful, smiling, 3-year-old child. It’s a double celebration: your birthday and the end of your young boy’s difficult recovery from surgery for a heart defect.
As you cross the street afterward, holding hands and swinging the little one up in the air, you think, “This is what it’s about.” You know it’s one of the best days of your life.
For Michael Morton, that day was August 12, 1986. He had just turned 32. The next day, it was all taken away. The dream became a nightmare.
Christine, his wife, was attacked and killed at their home in Williamson County, Texas, just outside Austin. Michael Morton was at work at the time. Still, authorities suspected him.
“Innocent people think that if you just tell the truth then you’ve got nothing to fear from the police,” Morton says now. “If you just stick to it that the system will work, it’ll all come to light, everything will be fine.” Instead, Morton was charged, ripped away from his boy, and put on trial. The prosecutor, speaking to the jury in emotional terms with tears streaming down his face, laid out a graphic, depraved sexual scenario, accusing Morton of bludgeoning his wife for refusing to have sex on his birthday.
“There was no scientific evidence, there was no eyewitness, there was no murder weapon, there was no believable motive,” Morton says. “… I didn’t see how any rational, thinking person would say that’s enough for a guilty verdict.”
But with no other suspects, the jury convicted him. “We all felt so strongly that this was justice for Christine and that we were doing the right thing,” says Mark Landrum, who was the jury foreman.
Morton spent nearly 25 years in prison.
He saw his son Eric only twice a year. “I would love seeing him, I was fascinated with his every move,” Morton says. But Eric “was becoming more distant,” Morton says. “He was becoming less mine.”
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