Lawyers for Mark Woodworth want charges dismissed, costs reimbursed

The state of Missouri owes Mark Woodworth for the years he spent in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, his lawyers say.

Woodworth, whose two convictions for the 1990 killing of a woman near Chillicothe, Mo., have been overturned on appeal, is facing a possible third trial.

But in a motion filed this week, his attorneys argue that the charges should be dismissed as a sanction against the state for what his attorneys say was misconduct on the part of investigators, prosecutors and a judge in the handling of the case that led to Woodworth being charged with killing Cathy Robertson.

The defense also argues that the state should be required to reimburse Woodworth’s family for the $350,000 in legal fees spent defending him.

Woodworth, 38, spent about 17 years in prison. He was released on bond last month after the Missouri Supreme Court threw out his murder conviction and life sentence because prosecutors had failed to turn over evidence to the defense before trial.

His attorneys noted in their motion a previous murder case in Jackson County in which a judge barred all of the state’s evidence as a sanction for failing to comply with rules for turning over evidence that could be helpful to the defense.

The violations in Woodworth’s case were at least as egregious as in that case, his attorneys maintain.

A spokeswoman for the Missouri attorney general’s office said Thursday that the office had not received a copy of the motion and could not comment.

The issue could be taken up on March 18, the next time Woodworth is scheduled to appear in court.