A Missouri man whose murder convictions for the 1990 slaying of his neighbor have twice been overturned will go to trial for the third time in July, and a judge said Friday he planned to rule by early next week whether to remove the state attorney general's office from the case.
Mark Woodworth, 39, of Chillicothe, has been free on bail for nearly a year after the Missouri Supreme Court overturned his second conviction last January, saying prosecutors failed to share evidence that could have helped his defense. The ruling followed a similar conclusion by a Boone County judge who also recommended review by an independent prosecutor.
Woodworth was 16 when his sleeping neighbor, Cathy Robertson, was shot and killed Nov. 13, 1990, in a farm home outside Chillicothe. Her husband, Lyndel Robertson – the business partner of Woodworth's father – also was shot but survived.
Woodworth was first convicted in 1995 of killing Cathy Robertson. That conviction was overturned on appeal, but a second jury found Woodworth guilty four years later and sentenced him to life in prison.
Soon after last year's Supreme Court decision that set Woodworth free, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced his office planned to seek a third trial.
At a hearing Friday in Platte City, where the case has been moved on a change of venue, Circuit Court Judge Lee Hull set a July 21 trial date. He also said he likely would have a decision Monday or Tuesday on a defense request to remove the attorney general from the case and appoint a special prosecutor.
Lyndel Robertson initially implicated his oldest daughter's ex-boyfriend– an Independence resident – in a hospital interview after the shootings but later said he was mistaken.