GEORGETOWN (KXAN) - Attorney John Raley believes a series of miracles led to Michael Morton being set free after spending almost 25 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.
"There have been many miracles in this case," Raley said Friday, shortly after a judge determined there would be a formal inquiry into possible misconduct by prosecutors in the Morton case. "I've always felt that there was a greater power looking over this case and encouraging us to not quit - to keep fighting."
Raley- along with attorneys from the Innocence Project - fought for seven years to have evidence in the Morton case tested for DNA. The testing, finally ordered by the court in 2011, showed another person's DNA on a bloody bandana found near the Morton home where Christine Morton was beaten to death in 1986.
"DNA testing can only reveal the truth and it makes no sense to oppose something, particularly that would be free to the state as this would have been- that can only reveal the truth," said Raley. "There were times when we almost gave in to despair - the fight was so hard to get DNA testing."
Raley said the greatest tragedy of the Morton case is that Michael lost not only his wife, but also his son, Eric, who was only 3 years old when his mother was murdered. He said Morton's deep faith has kept him from becoming bitter.
"He lost his soul mate, his college sweetheart, the mother of his child. And then his son was taken from him. What is amazing to me is that Michael Morton is so kind and loving now."
Raley said Morton is adjusting to life as a free man- enjoying a cup of coffee on Saturday mornings in his backyard and catching up on all of the things his missed during his time in prison.
"The first night we went to dinner he had a metal knife and a fork and he hadn't held one in 25 years and he wasn't sure he knew how to do it," Raley recalled. "He's just appreciating the sense of wonder of life."
In their seven year fight to get justice, Raley and Morton became friends. Both men are spiritual. Both fathers. Both, Raley says, are looking for the truth.
"Michael has requested that we do all we can to keep this from happening to other innocent people and so that has been our mission."
Raley is a civil trial attorney in Houston and has worked pro bono on the Morton case.
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