PLATTE CITY, Mo. — Citing strong ties to a community divided over a decades-old murder case, Livingston County Attorney Adam Warren on Friday asked a northwest Missouri judge to appoint a special prosecutor for the third trial of Chillicothe man twice convicted of killing his neighbor.
Mark Woodworth was 16 when Cathy Robertson was shot and killed Nov. 13, 1990, in a farm home outside Chillicothe, about 90 miles northeast of Kansas City. Her husband, Lyndel Robertson — a business partner of Woodworth's father — also was shot but survived.
Woodworth was first convicted in the death in 1995, but that was overturned on appeal. A second jury found him guilty four years later and sentenced him to life in prison.
Now 39, he was freed on bail a year ago after the Missouri Supreme Court overturned his second conviction, saying prosecutors failed to share evidence that could have helped his defense.
Late last month, Platte County Circuit Judge Owens Lee Hull Jr. barred the Missouri attorney general's office from trying the case for a third time. In his Jan. 29 ruling, Hull said previous prosecutorial missteps that contributed to Woodworth's first two convictions required "an independent review of this case by a prosecutor unburdened by past participation."
Hull handed the case to Livingston County prosecutor Adam Warren, who later asked to be removed from the case after Robertson family members told him they were concerned about his ability to be impartial.