In a scathing order, a Platte County judge on Monday threw out key evidence against a rural Missouri man who has spent 20 years maintaining his innocence in a 1990 murder.
Circuit Judge Owens Lee Hull Jr. excoriated law enforcement’s handling of critical bullet and revolver evidence that state prosecutors have used to twice convict Mark Woodworth of murdering Cathy Robertson and wounding her husband, Lyndel, in November 1990 outside Chillicothe.
“(T)he court finds that there has been an egregious, flagrant, cavalier disregard of evidentiary procedures,” Hull wrote in his 10-page order.
Elsewhere in the order, Hull described law enforcement’s lack of documentation as “odious.”
Woodworth was remodeling the basement of his parents’ home near Chillicothe when his lawyer called with the news. “I feel great,” he said. “It’s a great victory.”
Woodworth was 16 at the time of the shootings. After a long investigation, he was charged in 1993 with murder and assault. A jury convicted him two years later.