Twice convicted of murder, Norwood draws suspicion in other attacks


Present in a Travis County courtroom during Mark Norwood’s murder trial last month was a woman who believes she would have been killed the same way as his victim, Debra Baker, if not for a rotting wooden log.

Debi Scott was attacked on Sept. 15, 1990 as she slept in her Wells Branch home. Her attacker hit her in the head with a log he had grabbed from her porch. Like Baker and Christine Morton, the two women that Norwood has been convicted of murdering, Scott was a brunette in her early 30s, the target of a burglary, beaten with a blunt object while she slept.

Scott saw only a side view of her attacker, but the description she gave to police matches that of the lanky and bearded Norwood.

If the rotten log had not splintered during the attack, Scott believes her injuries would’ve been far worse than the concussion she sustained.

“I didn’t use them much,” she said. “I kept them for kindling.”

Norwood was not implicated in either the Baker or Morton killings for more than two decades. Since he was first charged in 2012 for the 1986 killing of Christine Morton, investigators have continually puzzled over what other crimes he might have committed in that 27-year period when it seemed he had gotten away with murder.

RELATED: Michael Morton, on 5 years of freedom: ‘I owe a lot of people’

Scott, who is now a real estate agent in New Braunfels, attended parts of Norwood’s two-week trial in the Baker murder, and sat alongside Lisa Tanner, the former Williamson County prosecutor who secured Norwood’s conviction in the Morton case. Tanner said she too is suspicious Norwood is behind Scott’s attack, “but there is no evidence, unfortunately.” Attempts by police to lift fingerprints from Scott’s home were unsuccessful, Tanner said.

“I think unfortunately it’s always going to remain a case where you have a healthy suspicion and you’re struck by the similarities, but you have nothing else,” Tanner said.

There currently are no active investigations with Norwood as a suspect, according to Tanner, who said that every now and then she gets calls from investigators elsewhere asking, “Do you know where Mark Norwood was at this time?”

At various points as an adult, Norwood lived in Nashville, Austin, California and finally Bastrop, where investigators questioned him for the first time about Baker’s murder.

At one time, Norwood was also a suspect in the 1985 murder of Natalie Antonetti, who, like Morton and Baker, was murdered on the 13th day of a month. That case remains unsolved after a state appeals court in 2015 dropped charges against Dennis Davis, who had been found guilty in 2011 and sentenced to 36 years.

Norwood, who says he’s not a violent person and that he never killed anyone, spoke with the American-Statesman last week from Travis County jail and called the criminal justice system “a big mess that has gotten way out of hand.”

Asked about Scott’s suspicion, Norwood said he didn’t attack her either.

“I don’t know anything about this woman,” he said. “I have no idea what she’s talking about. This is something that got put in her mind.”

Norwood did not explain how two pubic hairs linked to him through DNA testing were found at Baker’s home, but said “I got framed” for the purpose of exonerating Michael Morton, who was falsely convicted and served nearly 25 years for his wife’s murder. In the Baker murder trial, Norwood’s attorneys argued that there are many reasons his hair could be at her house.

As for Morton, Norwood said a bandana belonging to him that was found near Morton’s home may have been left there by Norwood’s work associate, Louis Wann, who he suspects may have broken into the house to steal a handgun. In recent years, investigators found the gun in Tennessee with Wann, who, after originally saying he got the gun from his mother-in-law, changed the story and said he bought it from Norwood. Wann has since died.

Norwood says he doesn’t think Wann killed Morton. “But he was in the vicinity, he was a gun collector, he wanted Mr. Michael Morton’s guns,” Norwood said. “He had someone break in his house and he was there.”

Stressing the many similarities of the two murders, Tanner persuaded a Williamson County judge to deliver a major blow to Norwood’s defense and admit testimony from Baker’s case into the Morton trial. A judge also allowed evidence from both killings into Norwood’s trial for the Baker murder.

Norwood’s conviction in the Morton case was upheld by an appellate court in 2014.

Norwood, who is serving two life sentences and is likely to also appeal the Baker conviction, said he keeps up with his cases in the newspaper and is aware of the comments Michael Morton made recently about wanting to visit Norwood in prison. That’s fine, Norwood says, but “don’t expect me to make you feel better about this.”

“I’m not going to confess to something I didn’t do,” Norwood said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Judge: Kidnapped sisters to remain in foster care for now
Judge: Kidnapped sisters to remain in foster care for now

A judge determined Tuesday that two Round Rock sisters recovered in Colorado after being kidnapped will remain in foster care while studies are being done on their relatives. The attorneys representing Lilianais Victoria Griffith and Luluvioletta Bandera-Margret at a hearing Tuesday agreed that it would be best for the girls to remain in foster care...
Police plan to ramp up security at Jackson Browne concert in Florida after threat
Police plan to ramp up security at Jackson Browne concert in Florida after threat

There will be increased security during singer-songwriter Jackson Browne’s concert Tuesday evening at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts after a threat was made at a northwest Indiana church known for its progressive stands on racial and social justice issues, the Orlando Police Department said. Police said banners with racist...
Hawaii governor couldn't correct missile alert sooner because he forgot Twitter password 
Hawaii governor couldn't correct missile alert sooner because he forgot Twitter password 

Forgetting a password to a social media account can be embarrassing, and that memory lapse caused some anxious moments in Hawaii when a missile alert was sent by mistake. When the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency sent the incorrect alert on Jan. 13, panic gripped the state. It took Hawaii Gov. David Ige 17 minutes to take to Twitter to reassure the...
Community news: Meeting on 51st Street project Saturday

TRAVIS COUNTY EAST AUSTIN Meeting on 51st Street project The Austin Transportation Department will host a public meeting to evaluate its East 51st Street improvement project from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday. The meeting will be at the East 19th Street Missionary Baptist Church, 3401 Rogge Lane. The aim of the project on East 51st Street, between Interstate...
Williamson County under burn ban

Williamson County commissioners on Tuesday approved placing the county under a burn ban for up to 90 days. The order prohibits the burning of any combustible material outside of an enclosure that can contain all flames, sparks and odors. County residents are also prohibited from burning household yard waste, including leaves, brush and other yard trimmings...
More Stories