The Missouri Supreme Court issued its formal mandate Thursday ordering the release from state prison of a rural Missouri man convicted for a woman’s 1990 killing near Chillicothe.
But Mark Woodworth, who was a teenager when accused in the killing, isn’t out of custody. The court ordered that he be released to the sheriff of Livingston County, where the state has announced plans to try him for a third time.
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The state high court tossed Woodworth’s second conviction for the murder of Cathy Robertson on Jan. 8, writing that he should be released unless the state decided to try him again. Judges found that Woodworth did not receive a fair trial because favorable evidence was withheld from his attorneys.
The Missouri attorney general’s office then filed notice that it intends to retry Woodworth. His defense lawyers are seeking to convince the Supreme Court that the attorney general’s office should be disqualified and that an independent prosecutor, or Livingston County’s current prosecutor, should make the decision on whether to retry Woodworth.