Authorities to take new look at old Missouri murder

Monday, August 3, 2009 | 7:20 p.m. CDT; updated 9:18 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 31, 2011

COLUMBIA — A Missouri sheriff said Monday that he will take a fresh look at the 1990 slaying of a farm wife after an Associated Press review raised questions about the investigation.

Mark Woodworth was 16 when his neighbor, Cathy Robertson, 41, was shot to death in her home in the northern Missouri town of Chillicothe. Woodworth is serving a life sentence for murder.

But a five-month AP examination found that some evidence pointing to other suspects was discounted or not fully explored by investigators.

"There are some things in there that need to be reviewed," Livingston County Sheriff Steve Cox said Monday. "It might be worth pursuing to see what we can chase down."

Woodworth — whose father was the farming partner of Robertson's husband, Lyndel Robertson — was first convicted in 1995 but won a new trial on appeal. A second jury found him guilty and sentenced him to four consecutive life terms plus 15 years.

Woodworth's attorney, Bob Ramsey, said his client is innocent.

"Everybody who knows him believes he could not possibly commit those crimes. ... I would welcome them reopening the case," Ramsey said.

Among the evidence not introduced at trial: two women reported that Brandon Thomure, the abusive boyfriend of Lyndel and Cathy Robertson's oldest daughter, stashed a duffel bag in their car trunks while staying at their Chillicothe apartment after the shooting. Investigators found four .22-caliber shell casings, the type of ammunition used in the shooting, in one car, whose owner said they "might have come from her boyfriend's gun."

No record in the investigative file reviewed by the AP shows the boyfriend was interviewed or that Thomure was asked about the bag.

Thomure has denied involvement in the crime.

The chief investigator, former Livingston County Chief Deputy Gary Calvert, has defended his handling of the case. He teamed up with Lyndel Robertson's private investigator, who offered the theory that Woodworth committed the crime.

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