A hearing is scheduled for Thursday in the case against a Chillicothe man. Mark Woodworth was twice convicted in the 1990’s for the shooting death of his neighbor Cathy Robertson. His 1995 conviction was overturned on appeal. He was found guilty by a second jury four years later and sentenced to life in prison. The Missouri Supreme Court vacated the second conviction earlier this year and the 38-year-old was released from custody on a $50,000 bond one month later. The state then filed their intent to retry Woodworth.
During subsequent hearings, the defense was able to successfully convince Platte County Circuit Judge Owens Hull Jr. to exclude ballistics evidence and expert testimony. However, the judge denied requests to dismiss the case and to impose sanctions against prosecutors.
Woodworth’s legal team then asked the court for Governor Jay Nixon to be deposed at the third trial. Nixon was attorney general when then-special state prosecutor Kenny Hulshof was appointed to the case.
On Wednesday, the defense filed a motion to compel, or force, Nixon to provide his deposition after Attorney General Chris Koster, in an attempt to keep the governor’s testimony private or block it all together, submitted a motion for a protective order. The order would prevent the disclosure of “sensitive information” except to certain individuals and under certain conditions. If the order is granted, a portion or the entire deposition might never be disclosed during the third trial. Koster argued that Nixon doesn’t have any relevant information in the case; therefore, he shouldn’t have to testify.
The judge’s ruling on the defense’s motion to compel Gov. Nixon to testify and the state’s protective order is expected to be handed down on Thursday. Proceedings will get underway at 2:30 p.m.