Norwood pleads not guilty in 1988 murder - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Norwood pleads not guilty in 1988 murder

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Mark Norwood, the man convicted of killing Christine Morton, appeared before a Travis County judge Thursday for the murder of Debra Baker. Last March a jury sentenced Norwood to life in prison for Morton's murder. Now it's the Baker family's turn.

Mark Norwood walked into a Travis County courtroom with much shorter hair and beard. He entered a not guilty plea for the murder of Debra Baker.

Caitlin Baker, Debra's daughter, was there to watch.

"He looks a little beaten down as I would hope he would be after a year, almost a year in prison," Baker said.

Norwood is serving a life sentence for the 1986 murder of Christine Morton. Back then Morton's husband Michael was wrongfully convicted. It was through re-trying that case that investigators say Norwood's DNA was also linked to Baker's murder.

Baker was killed in 1988 in a similar way as Morton. Investigators say they were both beaten with a blunt object and found with a pillow over her face.

Caitlin doesn't know much more. She is looking forward to what she might learn once the trial is underway.

"It's all pieces of a story that we don't know yet. We've kind of seen parts of it. There are holes that we're ready to fill in that story," she said.

Norwood's attorney says Judge Julie Kocurek will allow evidence from the Morton murder to be used in the Baker case. Vice-versa happened in the Morton trial.

"There are a lot of very serious dissimilarities. They're very different in many ways. We think that's very unfair," Attorney Russell Hunt said.

That argument is the basis of Norwood's appeal for the Morton murder. Judge Kocurek will ask a Williamson County judge to expedite that appeal before the Baker trial. That motion could reduce the wait time from years to months.

"What if the court of appeals says no you shouldn't have introduced this evidence? Then we have this trial and the same issue occurs. What if the other trial is overturned? Participants would feel very foolish for having trial another trial for absolutely no reason," said Hunt

Caitlin is happy they have at least gotten to this point.

"It's about time. It's a really good feeling hearing mom's name in court this morning and the indictment read. It's in a weird way satisfying. It's been a long wait," Baker said.

Norwood has been at the Travis County Jail since December 18. He will now be transported back to a prison in Rusk, TX. His next court date is March 28.

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