In a busy week for Missouri, an appellate court has denied the state’s appeal in Mark Woodworth’s case, upholding a lower court’s previous decision to exclude bullet and gun evidence from Woodworth’s retrial.
On Tuesday, the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District ruled that the state’s appeal was procedurally flawed; that it’s “disagreement with the with the trial court’s order does not make the order appealable.” However, the state could continue to challenge the trial court’s ruling through other legal avenues.
The Associated Press reports that the bullet and gun evidence was excluded because “the suspected murder weapon and a bullet surgically removed from shooting survivor Lyndel Robertson’s liver two years later may have been improperly handled by a private investigator hired by the victim.”
The AP continues:
“Not being able to present the weapon and bullet would be a significant blow to the state’s case, especially after several witnesses have come forward in recent years and implicated another suspect who had both motive and opportunity to attack Robertson and his wife Cathy while they slept in their rural home.”
Woodworth remains out of jail on bail pending the state’s third attempt to try him for the murder of Cathy Robertson in 1990. His second conviction was tossed earlier this year when the Supreme Court of Missouri adopted the findings of a district court judge who ruled last year that prosecutor Kenny Hulshof and his team violated the Brady rule by failing to disclose exculpatory evidence. The state withheld letters that suggested the victim’s husband initially suspected that his daughter’s former boyfriend was responsible for the murder, rather than Woodworth.
The state also withheld evidence that the same ex-boyfriend had violated a protective order taken out against him by the victim’s daughter before the murder.