WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) - DNA from Mark Alan Norwood, who is charged with Capital Murder in the 1986 beating death of Christine Morton, does not match a similar cold case in Williamson County, according to investigators.
Family members of Mildred McKinney, who was beaten to death in her Williamson County duplex in 1980, had hoped a DNA match in the Morton case would lead to McKinney's killer, as well.
But investigators are confirming publicly for the first time that Norwood's DNA was compared to DNA gathered from the McKinney murder scene and did not return a match.
"They've done all of the testing -- they've done all of the fingerprint comparison -- none of that matched at all to anything that we already know," said Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley.
Sgt. John Foster, who has been the primary investigator on the McKinney case since 2007, said he learned the new information in October 2011, shortly after Norwood was arrested for the murder of Christine Morton.
"I was hopeful that Norwood would be implicated in this murder because of the similarities, but he's not and the last thing I want to do is put somebody who's innocent in jail," said Foster.
The Morton and McKinney scenes were strikingly similar because both women were beaten to death and household items and furniture stacked on their bodies after they were killed. In both cases, the killer came in through an unlocked sliding glass door. The murder scenes were only one mile apart.
Foster said the new DNA results prove Norwood was not responsible for the sexual assault of McKinney, but he will not rule him out completely as a suspect.
"Mr. Norwood, as far as I am concerned, is out of the game in this case, but he hasn't left the stadium, so to speak," said Foster.
The cases became linked several years ago when McKinney's daughter, Pat Stapleton, joined in a lawsuit filed by Michael Morton, who was fighting to prove his innocence in his wife's murder. The lawsuit against the Williamson County sheriff and district attorney asked that DNA from the two crime scenes be tested and compared.
A judge ruled Morton could not test DNA from the McKinney crime scene, but ruled that a bloody bandana found near the scene of his wife's murder could be tested. DNA from that piece of evidence was entered into the national DNA database and came back with a "hit" on Norwood in 2011. His DNA had been entered into the database after a 2007 arrest in California.
Those results led to Morton's release and the dismissal of all charges against him in October 2011.
Former District Attorney Ken Anderson -- now a Williamson County Judge -- and former prosecutor Mike Davis, a Round Rock attorney, are being investigated for misconduct in the Morton case.
Norwood is currently in jail awaiting trial in the Christine Morton case. His DNA also matched a hair taken from the 1988 unsolved murder scene of Debra Baker in Austin. Norwood has not been charged in that case.
Stapleton did not live to see her mother's murder solved. She passed away on Jan. 1. Foster said investigators told Stapleton before she passed away that Norwood's DNA did not match her mother's murder scene.
"This is the most brutal homicide that I've ever scene in my career," said Foster. "It's unfortunate that I couldn't give her any closure to her mother's murder. I really wanted that -- it just didn't happen."
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.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside a vehicle after the child's family was involved in a fender bender, DPS said.
Austin Police confirm they have located an 82-year-old women who went missing last night.
APD is responding to a 25 vehicle accident near the 5400 block of Ed Bluestein near Thurgood Ave.
A man is dead after being hit by several vehicles in the eastbound lane of Highway 71 Saturday night.
A representative at the Fayette County Sheriff's office said that Fayette County is effectively shut down due to icy conditions.