SAN ANGELO, Texas (KXAN) - The defense team in the Mark Norwood capital murder trial rested its case after calling just three witnesses, including the defendant's mother to testify.
Dorothy Norwood told the jury that her son grew up in a close knit military family that lived around the world. As she was testifying, jurors saw pictures of Mark in family portraits with his wife and son.
Norwood is accused of the 1986 beating death of Christine Morton, a crime his mother has previously said she does not think he committed.
The defense also called the ex-wife and daughter of Sonny Wann who both testified that he has the reputation of a storyteller and lies to garner attention.
Wann testified through videotaped deposition that he purchased a .45 handgun from Mark Norwood in 1986. The handgun was eventually determined to have been stolen out of Michael Morton's closet the night Christine was killed.
The prosecution, meanwhile, rested its case against Mark Norwood just before lunch after introducing more DNA evidence in a case they argued is similar to the beating death of Christine Morton.
Closing arguments are scheduled to begin 8:30 Wednesday morning.
Norwood, 58, is charged with capital murder in the 1986 beating death of Christine Morton in Williamson County. He is also charged with capital murder in beating 1988 beating death of Austin homemaker Debra Morton. But even though that trial has not been scheduled, the Morton jury heard evidence from the case because of the similarities in the two killings.
Christine Morton's husband, Michael Morton, served 25 years in prison wrong convicted before a bandana with DNA that matched a sample of Norwood's exonerated him.
Outside the courtroom on Monday, Morton said he relieved that the case appears to be entering the home stretch. But, he added, that because he is a witness, he is not allowed to be in the courtroom for all of the testimony.
"Well it feels good that it is getting near the end, but I am completely out of the loop," Morton told reporters. "I'm off in a room with a few others, but 90 percent of the time I don't know what's going on.
"I never imagined being excluded from these proceedings," he added. "But when it is over i'll have a lot of reading to do"
The presiding judge Friday ruled that evidence from Baker could make it a "signature crime.
The ruling by state District Judge Burt Carnes represented a victory for prosecutors trying to prove that Norwood savagely beat Christine Morton to death more than 26 years ago in her Williamson County home.
Carnes said the similarities between Morton's murder and the Baker murder fit the criteria of a "signature crime," thus making evidence from Baker's murder admissible into the current trial.
Baker, a young mother, was found beaten to death on Jan. 13, 1988, in her Austin home. Norwood lived in Baker's Northcentral 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.
In both the Morton and Baker cases, the victims were killed with a blunt object and their heads were covered with pillows. DNA matching Norwood's profile was found at both crime scenes.
If convicted, Norwood could be sentenced to prison for life. The death penalty is not being sought.
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