Mark Woodworth's 3rd trial date set for July 21 - KCTV5

Mark Woodworth's 3rd trial date set for July 21

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Defense attorneys and the Attorney General's Office couldn't agree Friday on how to move forward with Mark Woodworth's case.

One day after Woodworth met Ryan Ferguson for the first time, Woodworth was back in court with Ferguson looking on, this time from the other side of the courtroom.

"Just last night Mark Woodworth was on TV giving an interview with Ryan Ferguson. That is specifically the media attention that we're talking about in this case," said Julie Tolle with the Missouri Attorney General's Office.

Ferguson made national headlines last year after he was released from jail and the case against him closed. Ferguson went to jail 10 years ago for the murder of a Columbia, MO, newspaper editor.

Stories like Ferguson's public support of what he says is Woodworth's innocence has the Attorney General's Office asking to bus in jurors for Woodworth's third trial from either Green, Taney or Christian counties.

"We believe there has been so much publicity on this case that it will be extremely difficult to get a fair and unbiased jury," Tolle said.

But Woodworth's defense attorneys made a completely different request in the Platte County Courthouse Friday. They asked the judge to excuse the Attorney General's Office from the case because of what they called mishandling of evidence and procedures.

"We've got two decades of the Attorney General's Office abusing the process, ignoring the rules and stealing people's freedoms. We need your help," said attorney Michele Puckett.

Ryan Ferguson and his father Bill Ferguson say they've read every document in Woodworth's case since before Ryan Ferguson's murder conviction was overturned. Ryan Ferguson said he doesn't believe the state has been truthful with the victim, Cathy Roberton's, family.

"I think it's very unfortunate what they've been dealing with and it's sad they have to go through this as well. To me it's sad the state is dragging them through this because, in my opinion, they're not getting the full truth from the state and that's got to hurt from their perspective," Ryan Ferguson said.

Rhonda Oesch, the victim's daughter, couldn't disagree more.

"My family thinks it would be fair to trudge ahead and use the Attorney General's Office. They are very high integrity and they have done a wonderful job on this case and being fair and getting justice for my mom," she said.

Robertson was fatally shot and her husband Lyndel was wounded as they slept in their home near Chillicothe, about 90 miles northeast of Kansas City, in 1990. They were rural neighbors of Woodworth.

Woodworth, whose father farmed with the Robertsons, was 16 at the time of their deaths.

Woodworth first was convicted in 1995 and, after briefly being released on appeal, was convicted by a second jury four years later.

None of the attorneys would comment on camera Friday. The judge is expected to make a decision early next week about the jury pool and whether the Attorney General's Office should remain on the case.

The hearing was held in Platte County rather than Livingston County because of a change of venue that was granted in a previous hearing.

Woodworth's third trial date is set for July 21.

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