PLATTSBURG, Mo. - On Wednesday, a Clinton County judge said he would decide Friday whether Mark Woodworth, who was twice convicted of murdering a neighbor in 1990, would be set free on bond pending a third trial.
The controversial Woodworth case has spanned nearly two decades. In 1995, a jury convicted Woodworth of shooting Cathy Robertson to death in her bed, and seriously wounding her husband Lyndel. In 1997 that conviction was overturned, but a second trial in 1999 led to another guilty verdict.
In January, the Missouri Supreme Court overturned the second conviction, finding that prosecutors withheld important evidence from the defense team, after an investigation by Boone County Judge Gary Oxenhandler
The Woodworth and Robertson families had long been neighbors, and were business partners at one time. Today, members of both families packed a tiny Clinton County courtroom, and tensions between the two were palpable.
Members of both camps said they expect Woodworth to receive some kind of bond. When his first conviction was overturned in 1997, he was released on $500,000 bond. On Wednesday, defense lawyer Robert Ramsey told the judge his family could not afford such a high prices this time around, and asked for Woodworth to be released to live on his family's farm under his own recognizance.
Robertson family members said regardless of Friday's outcome, they were focused on seeing Woodworth back in court for another trial.
"We're just focused on the third trial and getting a conviction. We believe full-heartedly that he is guilty. And that is due to the evidence that they presented and the evidence against him and his own incriminating statements," said Rhonda Oesch, Robertson's daughter, after the hearing.