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Chillicothe News - Chillicothe, MO
  • WOODWORTH RELEASED

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  • Mark Woodworth, whose murder conviction in the 1990 shooting death of Catherine Robertson was recently overturned, was to be released today (Friday) on $50,000 cash only bond as the state seeks a third trial.
    Family members received word early today that bond had been set.
    "I am praising God for answered prayers," said Woodworth's mother, Jackie Woodworth.
    The last time Mark Woodworth, 38, had been home was when he was released during an appeal process in the late 1990s.
    "It's going to be so wonderful," Jackie Woodworth said. "He is going to be home."
    Woodworth was expected to be transported from the Daviess DeKalb County Regional Jail to Livingston County where bond would be posted for his release early in the afternoon. He had been held at the regional jail, located in Pattonsburg, ever since the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in January that he should be released from state custody or get a new trial. Up until the state's Supreme Court's ruling, Woodworth had been incarcerated at Crossroads Correctional Center in Cameron.
    "I can't wait to see him get out," said Bob Ramsey, who has been Woodworth's attorney since 2002. "I have worked toward this for a long, long time with a lot of blood, sweat and tears. It will be a neat feeling to see him walk out of there."
    The Robertson family, however, is confident that a third trial will lead to a third conviction for Woodworth.
    "The State of Missouri has twice proven, and will prove again through forensic evidence, that Mark Woodworth took his father's gun from his home and brutally shot our mother and father," the family stated in a release. "The State will again prove that no other person of interest had access to the murder weapon and the bullets used in this crime. The state will again prove that Woodworth's own incriminating statements support the evidence that proves his guilt."
    Woodworth, 38, was indicted by a grand jury in 1993 and then convicted in 1995 and sentenced to a total of 31 years in prison. He was later released on appeal, but convicted by a second jury in 1999 and given four life sentences.
    Catherine Robertson died from gunshot wounds and her husband, Lyndel, was also shot as they slept in their home along Missouri Route 190, west of Chillicothe, and near the Woodworth home.
    The Missouri Supreme Court ruled in January that prosecutors failed to share evidence that could have benefitted Woodworth's defense against the charges. Issues raised involved correspondence among Livingston County Prosecuting Attorney Doug Roberts, Circuit Judge Kenneth Lewis, and Lyndel Robertson. The letters had not been shared with the defense, and were not publicly disclosed until 2009.
    Among the letters was one in which Lyndel Robertson wrote Lewis, expressing frustration with the county prosecutor's handling of the case against Woodworth. The special master appointed to the case during the appeals process believed the letters to be favorable to Woodworth because they diminished Lyndel Robertson's credibility. In one letter, the county prosecutor indicated that Robertson at one point had been adamant that an ex-boyfriend of one of the Robertson daughters be charged for the shooting crimes. Yet, in a following letter to Lewis, Robertson declared that injustice would not be served until the judge brought the evidence against Woodworth before a grand jury.
    Page 2 of 2 - Assistant Attorney General Kenny Hulshof served as special prosecutor on the case. His courtroom conduct has since been questioned, including the case involving Dale Helmig, who was convicted of murder and later freed. Helmig was incarcerated at Crossroads Correctional Center, had become friends with Woodworth, and attended Woodworth's bond hearing on Wednesday.
    Woodworth has maintained his innocence since his grand jury indictment in 1993. He was 16 at the time of the shootings. Woodworth's father, and Lyndel Robertson were partners in a farming operation.
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