Mo. man to be freed on bond before murder retrial

PLATTSBURG, Mo. (AP) — A judge ordered a man freed on bond Friday while he awaits his third trial in the 1990 fatal shooting of a neighbor in her rural Missouri home.

Mark Woodworth, 38, has been serving a life sentence in the fatal shooting of Cathy Robertson. His latest conviction was overturned in January, however, when the Missouri Supreme Court ruled state prosecutors had failed to share evidence with Woodworth that could have helped his defense. After the state Supreme Court’s ruling, Attorney General Chris Koster quickly announced he would try Woodworth a third time.

Woodworth will be released Friday afternoon from the Daviess-DeKalb County Regional Jail in Pattonsburg, Mo., his attorney Bob Ramsey said.

He was 16 when the wife of his father’s business partner was killed. Her husband, Lyndel Robertson, survived the attack.

Lyndel Robertson initially told friends and police that he suspected his oldest daughter’s ex-boyfriend as the shooter. He later testified that he never actually identified the shooter.

At Roberston’s urging, Livingston County’s presiding judge asked the state to prosecute Woodworth after the county prosecutor declined to pursue the case. The state appointed special prosecutor Kenny Hulshof, an assistant attorney general who would later serve six terms in Congress and win the Republican nomination for governor but whose courtroom conduct has been cited in several cases in which murder inmates were freed from prison.

A series of letters outlining Robertson’s concerns were among the potentially exculpatory documents the Supreme Court said were never shared with Woodworth’s defense.

Woodworth was first convicted in 1995. He was then briefly released on appeal but convicted by a second jury four years later.

Hull’s order comes two days after a brief bond hearing in Clinton County Circuit Court where Woodworth was joined by dozens of friends and family members. Hull was appointed to the case when the presiding judge in neighboring Clinton County recused himself.

Assistant Attorney General Ted Bruce testified that the state did not oppose Woodworth’s release pending trial but suggested a $500,000 bond.

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