Innocent Man Locked Up For 25 Years: The Shocking Story of Michael Newton's Fight For Freedom & Bringing The Real Killer of His Wife To Face Justice.

(Michael, Eric & Christine. Picture credit: Daily Mail)

As you know, if you are a regular reader, I have covered many cases on this blog but I don't recall covering a 'wrongfully Accused' case before so I will be making a note to include more of them in the future but in this post I want to talk about the extraordinary and heartbreaking case of Michael Newton and the horrific death of his beloved wife Christine. The Newton family consisted of Michael, Christine and their son 3 year old Eric. A very close and loving family, they had been through many a hard time including Eric's health problems. Eric had a congenital heart defect which required regular check-ups, hospital tests and even a serious operation which fortunately, Eric was able to come through successfully much to his parents relief. 

Michael and Christine were only in their early 30s and living at a modest home in Texas, USA in the 1980s. They originally met whilst both attended Stephen F. State University and married in 1979. Eric came into their lives in 1983. 

Whilst Christine took care of Eric and made sure he had his medications and attended his Doctor's appointments, Michael was busy helping keep the family afloat by working hard. There were no problems in the marriage, if anything, the love, care and concern for Eric and his health battles, united the family even more. 

The surgery that Eric had was a very risky procedure that was why they had to wait until he was 3 years old before Surgeons could proceed, it was a very worrying time but they got through it as a family together with support from their relatives and friends. Now that they seemed to be over the worst of Eric's health journey they were looking forward to having some relaxing time as a family and looking forward to Michael's 32nd birthday. However, just 6 weeks after Eric's operation on the 13th of August 1986, a horrific bombshell was about to be dropped that nobody could have predicted. 

Just a day after celebrating his birthday with his wife and child, Michael came home from work to find Christine had been bludgeoned to death in their bed. Eric was still in the house and appeared to be unharmed. In utter shock and horror, Michael called the police and an ambulance straight away, he was frantic and distraught trying to work out what had happened and how someone could have gotten into the house. 

So much was going on all at once and Michael did what he could to help the police with their investigation whilst relatives looked after Eric. Michael had told the police everything he could and mentioned about a mysterious van that he had seen parked near his home but for some reason the cops didn't seem to want to look into it. Little Eric had also spoken about a man who came to the house that day who had a moustache. When asked if his father was there he replied 'No'. 

It was clear that Michael wasn't home the day of his wife's murder and there were quite a few pieces of evidence that needed to be looked at and investigated properly but for some reason, just weeks later, Michael found himself having the cuffs placed on him and read his rights, they arrested him for the murder of his wife Christine. 

Things just continued to get worse with Michael being put on trial and evidence of his innocence was kept hidden or ignored. They came up with a ridiculous story that Michael wanted to have sex with Christine on the night of his birthday and when she refused, he killed her and then went to work the next morning. Michael was eventually found guilty of murder in 1987 after a farce of a trial which is hard to comprehend when looking back at it now. It seemed they were determined to have this case closed and that Michael was going to be their fall guy no matter the truth. The fact is, they knew he was innocent but for some reason they cruelly let this man go down for a crime he did not commit. 

Nobody on the outside believed that Michael was guilty of Christine's murder but they didn't know what to do. Michael, being the intelligent and strong man that he was and is, decided not to just sit there and think about the wrong that he had done to him, he was determined to fight, not only to clear his name but to find the real killer of his wife. 

Michael kept a journal in prison and took part in literature and psychology courses of which he obtained a master's degree in literature and a bachelor's degree in Psychology. He pressed and pressed for more investigation into his wife's murder as well as evidence to be DNA tested, his pleas fell on deaf ears and Michael ended up spending 25 years of his life behind bars, his lawyers told him they would not give up on him. He was offered parole but only if he pleaded guilty to his wife's murder. Michael refused and explained that his innocence was all that he had and he'd rather stay in prison and fight to clear his name. 

Eventually things took a positive corner when a group called The Innocence Project together with his attorney were able to make a break through at last and have the evidence from 1986 finally tested for DNA. They were particularly interested in having a bandana (that appeared to be soaked with dried blood) tested and the results came back.....another man's DNA was found and Michael was finally released on the 4th of October 2011. 

(Michael Newton: Picture credit: Daily Mail)

When Michael walked out of the prison gates his battle was not over, he was determined to see justice done for Christine. The DNA found on the bandana was traced back to a man by the name of Mark Alan Norwood and it turned out that he had actually murdered another woman using the same method that he had done with Christine. He killed Debra Baker in 1988. 

Mark Alan Norwood had a long history of petty crime and being in and out of prison. He was finally convicted for both the murders of Christine and Debra and sentenced to life imprisonment. Mark was now in his 60s but it was a groundbreaking moment when he was finally convicted all those years later, a message to all cold bloodied murderers, and to innocent families looking for hope, justice can come through sometimes, even so many years later. Forensics has come on so far from how things were done back in the day and we are so extremely lucky to see that decades old cases are being solved in this day and age. 

(Mark Alan Norwood: Picture credit: Daily Mail)

Michael finally got the justice for Christine that he fought so many years for and for and his name to be cleared. Despite all that he had been through, he emerged as quite a remarkable human being with such strength and inspiration. Sadly, when he was in prison, he and Eric lost touch and the relationship was very difficult for a number of years but since his release, Eric and his father have bonded again. 

Michael was able to find some happiness again after all of the suffering, he met a lady called Cynthia, through his church and the pair married in 2013. 

The Michael Morton Act was signed into law in 2013 meaning that in any case, evidence must be thoroughly investigated and tested. 

The prosecutor who was involved in the cover up of evidence at Michael's trial as well as misconduct, Ken Anderson, was stripped of his position, ordered to pay $500 and spent 10 days in jail. It seemed a small price to pay for sending an innocent man (who he knew was 100% innocent) to prison for 25 years, just imagine if Michael, his lawyer and The Innocent Project had not pushed through and continued to campaign, Michael would still be behind bars right now and Mark Alan Norwood would still be out there. 

(Ken Anderson: Picture credit: Daily Mail)

It's a wonder what goes through the mind of a cold hearted man like Mark Alan Norwood, sitting by for years knowing what he had done to these innocent young women in their homes (there could be more victims? Christine was murdered in 1986, Debra in 1988, that's quite a gap between two gruesome murders), knowing the pain and grief that the families went through year after year with no answer as to who did such things and then there's Michael, taken away from his only son, his wife murdered and denied his freedom for 25 years when he did nothing. Mark Alan Norwood was responsible for destroying so many lives and it angers me that he didn't see justice until he was in his 60s, he's had time to live a life out there whilst others have suffered. 

Mark cuts a pathetic figure and he really is. Michael has emerged from his whole ordeal as somewhat of a hero, a person for the every man and a beacon of hope for anyone who is fighting for justice or who has been wrongfully accused. 

Mark wrote an incredible memoir about his life: Getting Life: An Innocent Man's 25 Year Journey From Prison To Peace. Everyone from Oprah Winfrey to John Grisham has praised the book and Mark. It's an incredible book. 

(Cynthia & Michael: Picture credit: The New York times)

I hope you found this post interesting because I do have plans to cover more similar cases in the future. I just wanted to share this incredible story with you. 

As always, I think a lot of the victims when covering cases:

RIP Christine & Debra (& also to any other possible victims of Mark Alan Norwood).

Further Reading & Sources: 

Getting Life: An Innocent Man's 25 Year Journey From Prison To Peace: A Memoir | Book by Michael Newton

Michael Newton | Wikipedia

Mark Alan Norwood: Article | The Cinemaholic

Michael Newton: Article | The Texas Tribune

The Innocence Project

Mark Alan Norwood: Article | Daily Mail

Michael Newton: Article | The New York Times

Mark Alan Norwood: Article | The Statesman

Thank you for checking out my latest post, I hope you will join me again next Sunday (Would be great to see on my Socials too) x


  1. What a mind blowing and amazing story! 😯🙊 25 years behind bars wrongfully accused, I can't even imagine! What strength and determination he has to rise above it all when most people would crumble and give up hope! Brilliantly written and incredibly insightful! 🙏🏼❤

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, I really appreciate it x