AUSTIN (KXAN) - Mark Norwood, under indictment on a capital murder charge in the 1986 death of Christine Morton, was indicted Friday in a second killing from the 1980s.
A Travis County grand jury issued a capital murder indictment in the 1988 death of Austin resident Debra Baker, whose death has long gone unsolved.
Norwood's trial in the August 1986 death of Christine Morton will be held in San Angelo. The trial will be held before Judge Burt Carnes in Tom Green County in January, according to sources at Tom Green County District Court.
Morton's husband, Michael, was wrongly convicted and spent 25 years in prison before DNA evidence cleared his name. The DNA found on a bandana recovered near the crime scene was traced back to Norwood, who has a lengthy criminal record.
Baker's daughter, Caitlin Baker, called the wait for a break in her mother' death "excrutiating."
"It is difficult for us to process the reality that Debra might still be with us if evidence in the Morton case had been handled in the manner required by law," she said. "Though we have been frustrated at the length of time it has taken to get to this point, we are grateful to the Austin Police Department and Travis County District Attorney's office for their hard work on Debra's case.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg said the indictment of Norwood "came after a coordinated investigation" between the Austin Police Department and her office.
Attorney John W. Raley, who was part of the legal team that helped Morton win exoneration, also weighed in on the indictment.
"We all need to remember that when an innocent person is convicted of a murder, the real murderer goes free." Raley said. "The tragic consequences of a wrongful conviction can affect many families."
In her statement, Caitlin Baker thanked authorities and Morton's defense team for their work on the case.
"We are extremely grateful for the work of John Raley and the Innocence Project," she said. "We understand this process may take even longer but at least the end of the legal road is near. We will each hold our own memories of Debra in our hearts as we participate in the difficult process of bringing her killer to justice."
Baker, a young mother, was killed Jan. 13, 1988, and as recently as January police still need help solving the murder.
"It shook the feeling of safety that people had," said Anne Boettner, Baker's neighbor at the time of the murder. "I really felt that her children deserved their day in court. One thing I heard about Debra Baker at the time was that she was a wonderful mother."
Police had suspected that Norwood was linked to the case. But early this year they said they needed more evidence. Norwood lived in Baker's north-central Austin neighborhood at the time and worked as a carpet layer. Norwood was arrested for two home break-ins and a car burglary a year before Baker's death.
Police were hoping to jog someone's memory who knew Norwood or had some work done by him.
"We do have some information that Norwood was working as a carpet layer around this time period, so any business or construction site or anyone else who might have worked in that field or related field that may have known Norwood, at any level, we'd like to hear from you," said APD Violent Crimes Commander Julie O'Brien in late November.
More than 100 trees covered in lights now shine bright throughout Zilker Park. The Trail of Lights is open for another season.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside of a vehicle which lost control during the icy conditions, DPS said.
Travis County non-profit Center for Child Protection will benefit next March from an all day fundraiser at the Circuit of the Americas that will see plenty of donors racing on the track.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg heads to court this week as a defendant in a civil trial that could oust her from office.
Santa visited Austin early on Sunday, joining hundreds of motorcyclists for their annual Toy Run.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.