Innocent Man Released From Jail After Decades

Photo courtesy of cnnpressroom.com

Photo courtesy of cnnpressroom.com

“Innocent people think that if you just tell the truth then you’ve got nothing to fear from the police. If you just stick to it, the system will work, it’ll all come to light, and everything will be fine.” Says Morton in an interview two days after he was released.

On August 12, 1986 Michael Morton was falsely accused by authorities in Williamson, Texas with a charge of killing his wife. Even Though they had no evidence and no motive they still put him in jail. Michael Morton also stated in his interview “Innocent people think that if you just tell the truth then you’ve got nothing to fear from the police, if you just stick to it that the system will work, it’ll all come to light, and everything will be fine.”

But with no other suspects, the jury convicted him. “We all felt so strongly that this was justice for Christine and that we were doing the right thing,” says Mark Landrum, who was the jury foreman. Morton saw his son Eric only twice a year. “I would love seeing him, I was fascinated with his every move,” Morton says. But Eric “was becoming more distant.”

As a teen, Eric had no memories of his father outside of prison. Letters his dad wrote him were “just a window into a life that never happened,” he says. His father “barely existed in my life. I didn’t have memories of him outside of the visits to prison.”

Eric decided to stop visiting. “I think it was embarrassing for me to think that I had to go to jail to see my dad.”

“I apologize that the system screwed up. I’ve beaten myself up on what I could have done different and I don’t know,” Anderson, Morton’s judge, said, acknowledging Morton. He’s now close with his son and daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, who is named after Christine. “I’ve never seen a more perfect child,” Morton says.