Back in 1987, Michael Morton was convicted of murdering his wife. Upon being led to prison, he vowed that he was innocent, telling onlookers “I did not do this.”
After almost 25 years in prison, DNA evidence proved that Morton was innocent, with samples connecting a different male to his wife’s slaying. Morton was freed onOct. 4, 2011, and “60 Minutes” brought his case into the national spotlight on Sunday.
Morton sat down with CBS correspondent Lara Logan, and called attention to the argument that prosecutors are given too much power. He explained how he came home in the summer of the 1986 to find his 3-year-old son Eric alone in the yard, and the body of his wife Christine in the bedroom. Right away, police suspected him.
Michael Morton: I didn’t really have the opportunity to grieve for her, because it– everything changed so rapidly away from her to me.Lara Logan: So were you a suspect from the very first moment?
Michael Morton: Yeah, if– all the questions were adversarial, accusatory. It became clear to me that the sheriff showed up, looked around, and “Okay, husband did this.”
As the case wore on, Morton and his attorneys sensed that there was evidence that would have exonerated him. But they were never given full access to the police reports in the prosecutor’s file.
Morton and his original trial lawyers always suspected there was evidence that would have helped establish his innocence, that [Williamson County District Attorney Ken] Anderson wasn’t telling them about. But they were never given full access to the police reports in the prosecutor’s file. It wasn’t until recently, after years of legal wrangling, that lawyers Barry Scheck and Nina Morrison of The Innocence Project, and John Raley, a private attorney in Houston, finally got a look at Anderson’s file from the original trial.John Raley: It was one of those moments where you almost f– you almost faint. To hold in my hand a copy of a document that the district attorney at the time had and didn’t tell anybody about it on the defense side…
Lara Logan: That document would’ve proved what?
John Raley: Would’ve proved that Michael Morton is innocent.
Message to John Patrick Frey at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, You need to put your overreaching power in check.
For a full transcript of the “60 Minutes” interview, click here. WATCH the segment above.