A wrongful murder conviction occurred in part because a three-year-old boy’s eyewitness account of the murder was ignored by police. This is among the disturbing revelations in “The Innocent Man,” a gripping account in The Texas Monthly of the 25-year ordeal of Michael Morton.
A legal battle by the Innocence Project enabled Morton, after decades in prison, to read the reports of the sergeant who had investigated his wife’s murder. In one of them he found an account by his wife’s mother that his small son, Eric, said he had seen a “monster” with red gloves, a blue suitcase, and a basket of wood “hit mommy.”
A blue suitcase, a wicker basket, and a piece of wood all figured prominently in the crime scene, but the sergeant did not attempt to interview Eric or otherwise to investigate the information he had provided his grandmother. And the prosecutor did not reveal Eric’s account to Morton’s lawyers at the time.
Morton was freed only after DNA testing inculpated another man as the murderer.