Perhaps you remember the TV series, “The Fugitive,” or you saw the more recent film of the same name. This was the fictionalized story of an innocent man convicted of killing his wife in the bedroom of their home. He managed to escape and struggled to stay free long enough to find the real killer. The TV and film versions do not reflect the truth of what often happens: prosecutors who withhold evidence of the man’s innocence. That is at the heart of the true story of Michael Morton of Texas.
One morning after he left for work his wife was attacked and murdered. Morton’s young son later told his grandmother the only people in the house at the time he heard his mother crying were “the monster” and him–a three year old boy. Defense attorneys never were given this information. No less painful than the conviction was the result of how well prosecutors persuaded the grieving family of the guilt of Michael Morton.
It’s likely the prosecutors would not have succeeded with persuading the family to drop their support of Michael Morton if they were part of the minority community. Minorities have a long history of experience as victims of prosecutors. But this was a white family, and they trusted police and prosecutors.
A quarter century later a bandana found at the scene of the crime was tested for DNA. The results of these tests helped prove the innocence of Mr. Morton–but only after his attorney, John Raley, struggled, repeatedly, against the opposition of prosecutors whose mission was to support the conviction rather than seek truth or justice.
Unlike the TV series and the film, an innocent man spent twenty-five years in prison, falsely convicted of murdering his wife. He lost his wife, his son, his youth, his dreams. As a result of this wrongful conviction, at least one other family became victims of the failure of investigators to consider anyone else as the killer. Today, finally, the real killer is behind bars and about to be tried in a court of law, charged with the murder of another woman, a murder that was almost exactly like the one for which Morton was convicted.
His new memoir is now available at www.Michael-Morton.com
To read more True Stories of Innocent People wrongly convicted, click HERE