More than 400 pages of former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson’s depositions regarding the 1987 wrongful murder conviction of Michael Morton were released to the public Wednesday.
Anderson, now a district judge, told attorneys he has very little memory of one of the biggest murder cases in Williamson County history.
Anderson's first deposition, given on Oct. 31, is about one-inch thick—the same thickness of the Morton case file investigation that never made it into court. Page after page, Anderson answers many questions from Morton’s attorneys with “I don’t know” and “I don’t recall.”
Innocence Project leader Barry Scheck handled the questioning. He wanted to know if Anderson hid a one-inch case file investigators gathered before trial. Inside the file was evidence which supported Morton’s innocence.
In the 1986 investigation of the murder of Michael Morton’s wife Christine, Sgt. Don Wood's notes revealed the couple’s 3-year-old-son saw someone other than his father kill his mother, a stolen credit card was used after the murder, a faulty check was cashed and neighbors witnessed a strange green van parked next to the Morton's house.
None of that information was provided to the jury at trial.
In an October deposition, Wood testified his file was handed over to Sheriff Jim Boutwell to be reviewed by Anderson. It's unclear how the evidence never made it to court.
However, Anderson authored a book called “Crime in Texas” in 1997 that could shed some light.
In chapter one, Anderson boasts of the close bond he shared with Boutwell. He writes, “Perhaps no sheriff and district attorney had a closer working relationship.” Anderson wrote that he and Boutwell would often meet at the LS&M Café in Georgetown to discuss cases. Anderson credits the “downfall of more than one criminal” currently serving life in prison to “investigations put together on a coffee-stained napkin at the LS&M Café” with Boutwell.
The deposition also revealed the two often would meet where they "painstakingly pieced together circumstantial murder cases."
Morton’s attorney implies in the deposition that it was this close relationship that could have led to evidence suppressed more than two decades ago.
During questioning, Anderson was asked if that were true, he replied, "No, I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying Boutwell handled the investigations. He would undoubtedly keep me up-to-date."
Click here to read Anderson's deposition from Oct. 31, which lasted nine hours.
Click here to read his second deposition, conducted Nov. 11, via teleconference.