(All information is from court files.)
1990 On the night of Nov. 13, 16-year-old Mark Woodworth took his father’s .22-caliber handgun from his parent’s bedroom, sneaked across the street to the Robertson family home in Livingston County Missouri, and unloaded six bullets into Cathy and Lyndel Robertson. Cathy died immediately of two gunshot wounds to her head and body. Lyndel held onto his life by a thread despite the four bullets that struck him.
Cathy and Lyndel Robertson’s 11-year-old son awoke to the sounds of his father’s moans coming from his parents’ bedroom.
Lyndel underwent two separate surgeries and survived multiple gunshot wounds. He was shot on the left side, facing the bedroom door. Some of his teeth were blown out, his tongue was lacerated and lead was removed from his jawbone and sinuses. Fragments of those bullets were admitted at trial. At least one other bullet damaged his shoulder, collapsed his lung and rested in his liver. The bullet was removed and admitted at trial.
A full investigation was launched by law enforcement and all leads, including those involving initial suspect Brandon Hagan (aka Brandon Thomure) were investigated.
1992 Law enforcement was called to investigate a vandalism complaint involving a combine owned by and stored in Lyndel Robertson’s shed. Investigators spoke to Mark Woodworth regarding his possible involvement in the vandalism. During this interview, police obtained finger prints from Mark. Mark Woodworth’s prints were submitted for comparison to the print obtained from the shell box on the workbench in the Robertson’s shed. The fingerprints matched. It was at this time that the investigation shifted towards Mark Woodworth. Prior to this piece of evidence, Mark was not a suspect and other suspects were investigated.
1992 During the investigation, it was determined that a bullet doctors left lodged in Lyndel's liver was the most in-tacked and must be retrieved for ballistic purposes. Lyndel never hesitated undergoing this life-threatening surgery to retrieve the bullet.
1993 Mark Woodworth was arrested and charged with murdering Cathy Robertson
1995 Mark Woodworth was convicted by a jury of murder in the second degree, assault in the first degree, two counts of armed criminal action and burglary in the first degree.
1997 That conviction was reversed by the Court of Appeals based on the exclusion of statements purportedly made by Lyndel Robertson. This means that the first trial is deemed void and the state has to put forth a completely new trial to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mark Woodworth committed murder.
1999 Mark Woodworth was tried and convicted a second time and found guilty of the five felony charges by a jury of his peers. A new prosecutor, defense attorney, judge and jury participated in this legal process.
2001 Mark Woodworth’s conviction was upheld by the Western District Appellate Court.
2003 Mark Woodworth filed a motion with the courts to vacate his sentence
2008 Supreme Court Justice Laura Stith Denied the Motion to Vacate
2010 Missouri Court of Appeals Affirmed the Denial of the Motion to Vacate Mark Woodworth's appeal
2010 Case assigned to the Special Master, Missouri Supreme Court
2011 Hearing in Special Master Court, one in June and another in
November (see below)
2012 May 1 - Judge Oxenhandler handed his opinion up to the Supreme Court. In his brief he recommends a 3rd trial. This liberal judge's desire to be an activist and soft on crime has devastated the Robertson family.
2012 May 10 - The Supreme Court has denied bail without prejudice for Mark Woodworth. One small victory for the Robertson family in this war of keeping a murderer behind bars.
November Hearing Summary
Monday, November 7th, Circuit Judge Gary Oxenhandler held a hearing in a Columbia, Missouri courtroom to hear final arguments regarding the conviction of Mark Woodworth for the murder of our mother Cathy Robertson and the shooting of our father Lyndel.
Our family attended this hearing in our on-going commitment to ensure justice is served and Mark Woodworth remains behind bars for murder, armed criminal action and burglary.
The hearing lasted almost two hours and Judge Gary Oxenhandler thoroughly vetted the outrageous concerns brought forward by Woodworth’s legal team. Judge Oxenhandler wants to ensure that all extraneous issues brought by the defense are properly discussed and heard, so he can incorporate those issues into his recommendation to the Missouri Supreme Court. The judge’s effort to do this does not mean that he believes any of these accusations or “new pieces of evidence” have any relevance to Mark Woodworth’s conviction. The judge’s job is to review the information and decide if these issues are legitimate and if they impacted Mark Woodworth’s right to a fair trial.
In summary, here’s what happened:
Judge Oxenhandler raised questions about letters that the defense team claims were not provided to defense counsel at the time of both trials. Prosecutors believe the letters were in the files at the time the files were turned over to the defense during the trials, and the letters were in fact found in the very files defense counsel reviewed. Even an AP reporter doing a story on the case found the letters in the files. Despite the allegations of the defense, they cannot prove the letters were not turned over to counsel in previous years. In addition, the defense team agreed with Judge Oxenhandler and the State that the letters would never have been admitted into evidence, and they had no bearing on the outcome of the conviction.
There were questions raised about whether these letters, if provided to the Grand Jury, would have changed their outcome to proceed with prosecuting Mark Woodworth for the murder. The State testified that they had enough evidence to convict Mark Woodworth of murder beyond a reasonable doubt – twice – and therefore, they had enough evidence for a Grand Jury to make the decision to proceed with prosecution. Again, the letters had no relevance to the evidence against Mark Woodworth.
Some important facts to consider:
· Mark Woodworth's defense team is not disputing ANY of the evidence used against Mark in his conviction.
· Despite their claims of innocence, Mark Woodworth’s defense team has not proven that he is innocent of this crime. They have merely tried to point the finger at someone else, claim a major conspiracy by the judge, prosecutors, law enforcement and jury and claim incompetence from his defense team.
· There is not one piece of evidence or fact that proves Mark Woodworth’s allegations that anyone else was involved in this crime. They can’t put the murder weapon in the hands of those they accuse. And they have brought forth not one piece of credible evidence of a massive conspiracy.
· While the defense claims witnesses are coming forward and changing their stories, the defense has not claimed any trial testimony is false. This is very important because this review is about whether Mark Woodworth received a fair trial. Since 1999, the courts have upheld the conviction of Mark Woodworth for murder.
We patiently await the Judge Oxenhandler’s decision to the Supreme Court and believe he will make the decision to uphold justice and the conviction against Mark Woodworth.