PLATTE CITY, Mo. (AP) — The third trial for a northwest Missouri man charged in his neighbor’s 1990 death will move to another county, a judge said Monday.
Platte County Circuit Judge Owens Lee Hulls Jr. agreed to defendant Mark Woodworth’s change of venue request. It’s still undecided whether Hull will call a jury from Platte County or bring in jurors from another county, as the state has requested.
Woodworth was first convicted of murder in 1995 for killing Cathy Robertson while she slept in her Livingston County home. Her husband, Lyndel, was also shot but survived. Woodworth’s father and Lyndel Robertson were long-time farming partners.
Woodworth was briefly freed after the first conviction was overturned on appeal, but a second jury found him guilty four years later and sentenced him to life in prison. The Missouri Supreme Court overturned that conviction in January because of evidence Woodworth and his previous lawyers never received.
Hull released Woodworth on bond pending the new trial.
Defense attorney Bob Ramsey said he sought to move the trial 90 miles away in part because a Livingston County judge is also a potential witness, and also because a Platte County judge had already been assigned the case.
Woodworth previously was tried before Clinton County jurors.
Hull has previously ruled that a bullet surgically removed from Lyndel Robertson’s liver and the gun Woodworth reportedly used could have been improperly handled by a private investigator and cannot be used as trial evidence. The state is appealing it that ruling.
Defense attorney Bob Ramsey said he expects the Missouri Court of Appeals’ Western District to hold oral arguments on the appeal in August.