State prosecutors hoping to put a Chillicothe man on trial for a third time were dealt a huge setback Monday when a Platte County judge threw out ballistics evidence and expert testimony.  Mark Woodworth, 38, was twice convicted of murder, armed criminal action, assault, and burglary in the 1990s.  Prosecutors allege Woodworth shot and killed his neighbor, Cathy Robertson, and wounded her husband, Lyndel.  Lyndel Robertson initially told police that he thought his oldest daughter’s ex-boyfriend played a role in the shooting, but he later recanted the statement.

Woodworth was first convicted in 1995 and briefly released on appeal before a second jury again found him guilty of the crimes four years later.  He was sentenced to life in prison.  More than a decade passed before the Missouri Supreme Court overturned the conviction.  The high court ruled in January that prosecutors withheld evidence from Woodworth and his legal team that would have been favorable to the defense.  Woodworth was released on bail in February and his attorney, Robert Ramsey, filed the motions asking Platte County Circuit Judge Owens Hull Jr. to throw out the prosecution’s key pieces of  physical evidence: the ballistics and the fingerprint expert’s testimony.  Click to hear KMZU’s Chelsea Wade talk to Ramsey:

Robert Ramsey

Judge Hull ruled Monday that the bullet recovered from Lyndel Robertson was not properly handled by a private investigator.  He said further that the Missouri Attorney General’s Office would be barred from discussing the gun allegedly used to kill Cathy Robertson, according to online court records.

“The court finds that there has been an egregious, flagrant, cavalier disregard of evidentiary procedures and process,” Judge Hull wrote.  He also called private investigator Terry Deister’s role “especially odious” and said the investigation had a “laser-like focus on one individual – Mark Woodworth.”

Woodworth is expected to return to the Platte County Courthouse on Apr. 18.

Related Stories:

Judge’s Alleged Actions Raise Concerns

Testimony at Woodworth Bond Hearing

Court Proceedings Begin for Chillicothe Man

Woodworth Case Assigned to Platte County

New Documents Released in Woodworth Case

Requests Denied in Woodworth Supreme Court Case

Motions Continue in Woodworth Case

State Files Intent to Retry, Woodworth Attorney Files Motion for Rehearing

State Opposes Bail Request

High Court Awaits Response from AG

Timeline Set for Opposition to Woodworth’s Bail Request

Breaking News: New Developments in Woodworth Case

Families Await High Court Ruling

Woodworth Case Goes Before Mo. Supreme Court

State v. Woodworth – Both Sides Speak

Woodworth Hearing – Live Blog

Mo. Supreme Court to Hold Hearing in Woodworth Case

Oxenhandler Stands by Woodworth Ruling

AG’s Objections Rejected in Woodworth Case

AG Files Protest in Chillicothe Murder Case

Woodworth to Remain in Prison

Woodworth’s Lawyer Files Motion for Bond

The Woodworth Trial: Key Players

Judge to ‘Pore Over’ Woodworth Letters

Former Prosecutor to Testify in Woodworth Case

Chillicothe Man Indicted by Grand Jury

Trial Date Set for Man Convicted in ’90 Slaying