New evidence could point to different suspect in Woodworth case - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

New evidence could point to different suspect in Woodworth case

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Mark Woodworth after the courts threw out one of his first two convictions. Mark Woodworth after the courts threw out one of his first two convictions.
LIVINGSTON COUNTY, MO (KCTV/AP) -

There's a new twist in the case of a Missouri man who could face a third trial for the same murder.

Investigative documents claim a former suspect in the 1990 shooting death of a Chillicothe farm wife told a California man with whom he was embroiled in a business dispute that "he got away with murder and was not scared to do it again."

The new information came out of the Livingston County Sheriff's Department where Sheriff Steven Cox followed up on a tip saying that Cathy Robertson's daughter's boyfriend told a business associate he had gotten away with murder.

Mark Woodworth has had his convictions overturned twice on charges he killed his neighbor, Robertson, in 1990. Now he awaits his third trial.

"I think Mark has some hope. He has a good judge, he has a lot of support in this community and frankly all over this state and he has a wonderful family," said his attorney, Michele Puckett.

Puckett said new information involving a man close to the Robertson family could be offering even more hope.

"There's a great possibility the person who committed this murder was Brandon Hagan," Puckett said.

Hagan dated Robertson's daughter, Rochelle. The two had a tumultuous relationship that Cathy Robertson and her husband Lyndel did not approve of. In a Livingston County sheriff's report, Hagan allegedly conveyed the threat in a verbal conversation with Sam Gabrielle, a business associate.

"He threatened Mr. Gabrielle with that exact statement, indicating that he gotten away with murder before and what made Mr. Gabrielle think he wouldn't do it again?" Puckett said.

Cathy Robertson's husband survived the attempted murder and later backed out on an earlier accusation that Hagan had something to do with it.

Puckett said it isn't the first time Hagan has been heard making such a claim.

"There's sworn testimony almost verbatim at the master's hearing in 2011 from another individual saying he essentially said the same thing," Puckett said.

Woodworth, whose father farmed with the Robertsons, was 16 at the time of their deaths. He was first convicted in 1995 but won an appeal. A second jury again found him guilty and sentenced Woodworth to life in prison. The Missouri Supreme Court overturned his conviction in January over evidence it said he never received.

Early Tuesday evening a daughter of the Robertson's issued the following statement:

"The criminal or alleged criminal history of Brandon Thomure (Hagan), while a distraction in this case, does not make him responsible for Cathy Robertson's murder. Fingerprint evidence, ballistic evidence, a failed polygraph test, lack of alibi, proximity to the crime scene, motive of $102,000 in life insurance, hatred of Mr. Robertson and Mark Woodworth's own statements, put the bullets in Mark's pocket and the murder weapon (in) Mark's hand.

Once this case goes to trial, and provided the jury can hear all of the evidence, the truth again will be presented to a jury and 12 more people will see the evidence that has twice convicted Mark Woodworth of murder."

In May Hagan was charged with burglary, stalking and property damage in Camden County. He was initially suspected in the Chillicothe killing but insisted he was elsewhere at the time.

He has not returned calls from KCTV5 for comment.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.