Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: Getting Life: An Innocent Man's 25-Year Journey From Prison to Peace by Michael Morton

Title: Getting Life: An Innocent Man's 25-Year Journey From Prison to Peace
Author: Michael Morton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 304
ISBN: 978-1-4767-5682-0
Publication Date: July 8th, 2014

Synopsis: 
He spent twenty-five years in prison for a crime he did not commit. He lost his wife, his son, and his freedom. This is the story of how Michael Morton finally got justice and a second chance at life.

On August 13, 1986, just one day after his thirty-second birthday, Michael Morton went to work at his usual time. By the end of the day, his wife Christine had been savagely bludgeoned to death in the couple's bed;and the Williamson County Sheriff's office in Texas wasted no time in pinning her murder on Michael, despite an absolute lack of physical evidence. Michael was swiftly sentenced to life in prison for a crime he had not committed.

He mourned his wife from a prison cell. He lost all contact with their son. Life, as he knew it, was over.

It would take twenty-five years and thousands of hours of effort on the part of Michael's lawyers, including the team at the New York-based Innocence Project before DNA evidence was brought to light that would ultimately set Michael free. The evidence had been collected only days after the murder, but was never investigated.

Drawing on his recollections, court transcripts, and more than one thousand pages of personal journals he wrote in prison, Michael recounts the hidden police reports about an unidentified van parked near his house that were never pursued; the treasure trove of evidence, including a bandana with the killer's DNA on it, that was never introduced in court; the call from a neighboring county reporting the attempted use of his wife's credit card (a message that was received, recorded, and never returned by local police); and ultimately, how he battled his way through the darkness to become a free man once again.

Getting Life is an extraordinary story of unfathomable tragedy, grave injustice, and the strength and courage it takes to find forgiveness.
Review:
Having been through many criminal justice/ criminal forensic classes, I was very interested in learning more about the Innocence Project. My professors spoke of this program several times and the work that goes on to free these innocent people who were abused by the system. One of my professors wanted to have someone come and speak to the class, but it didn't work out. When I was offered the opportunity to review Michael Morton's story, I was eager to read it.

The way that this memoir is written is like Michael is sitting right there telling you his story and the ghastly struggle with a corrupt police and court system while mourning his wife.

As I read each chapter that focused on the the investigation of his wife, Chris, I was shocked and sickened to how he was treated and how the ineptness of this sheriff and deputy handled things. Chris' brother John was a better investigator and had the skills to find the proper evidence. He found three important pieces and kept them from being contaminated like someone from CSU should have done. I mean my goodness, the system in the 80's wasn't as technologically advanced as it is today, with DNA, but it was there, things would have been found in the system.

As his story progressed to his time in prison, you got to see how prison can change a person. It doesn't matter if your are guilty or innocent, it's a tough place to live in. Michael showed such strength though. He kept fighting, he never gave up, even when it seemed he hit rock bottom in those years, he still pushed forward.

When the Innocence Project got involved and help fight for Michael, the battle they faced from this county was infuriating, but their diligence in proving that he was innocent was amazing.

I will say, I don't cry much, but there were a couple of parts that really got to me in his story. There were tears of joy for him and tears of sorrow for his son Eric. The joyful tears where after a hard fought battle, Michael got out of prison. What an amazing day that was! The tears of sorrow was when another trial came along and Michael's son Eric finally saw what all happened to his mother Chris.

I will say, what Micheal said in this book is true. When some one is killed their body is now a crime scene and they are also now an exhibit for court. In my studies, I've been taught to keep emotions separate when viewing these things, but in the story, seeing how it affects the family, it really got to me and made me hurt for them.

This was a phenomenal account. I believe if some one is interested in going into the police work or criminal law, they should read this. This is a story that will stick with a person.

I will give a small warning to those out there, that this book does talk about death and a crime scene and gives descriptions of it and it speaks of the crime scene photos and people's reactions to them. There is a little language, not much, it was used for demonstration purposes only and in testimony for court.

Too Read!
5 out of 5

About the Author:
Michael Morton was born in Texas, grew up in California, and moved back to Texas in high school. While living in Austin, Michael was convicted of murdering his wife—a crime he did not commit. He spent almost twenty-five years in prison before being exonerated through the efforts of the Innocence Project, pro bono lawyer John Raley, and advances in DNA technology. Michael is now remarried and lives on a lake in rural East Texas, relishing and appreciating what others may take for granted. - See more at: http://authors.simonandschuster.biz/Michael-Morton/427017323#sthash.B3TkSHoD.dpuf
Michael Morton was born in Texas, grew up in California, and moved back to Texas in high school. While living in Austin, Michael was convicted of murdering his wife—a crime he did not commit. He spent almost twenty-five years in prison before being exonerated through the efforts of the Innocence Project, pro bono lawyer John Raley, and advances in DNA technology. Michael is now remarried and lives on a lake in rural East Texas, relishing and appreciating what others may take for granted.



Thank you to Simon & Schuster, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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