AUSTIN (KXAN) — The jury heard testimony from six former neighbors in the second full day of the capital murder trial in the case against 62-year-old Mark Alan Norwood.
Norwood is charged with capital murder for the 1988 murder of Debra Masters Baker.
The prosecution called members of the Long, Monroe, and Jimenez families to testify Wednesday about burglary incidents reported during the summer of 1987 in their Brentwood-area neighborhood. Their testimonies surrounded at least three separate reports of burglaries during that summer. All of these reports were connected to Norwood when a portion of the stolen items were recovered.
Each of the six testimonies relayed similar experiences. The victims were often at work or out of town when the burglary crimes occurred.
“We went away for the weekend,” testified Ora Nell Jimenez Osmar. “My whole apartment was empty. I had no furniture, nothing in my house.”
“I noticed some things were out of place, and I knew something was wrong,” testified Jana Monroe, another neighbor who took the stand to respond to questions about her July 1987 burglary. “I just ran out, screaming.”
According to prosecutors, Norwood pleaded guilty to three felony offenses of theft in the late 1980’s, corresponding to the burglaries reported by witnesses who testified in court.
The prosecution argued that it’s no coincidence.
“Somebody with some experience and knowledge on how to do this, got into [Debra Baker’s] home,” said Gary Cobb, Travis Co. prosecutor, during opening statements.
Baker’s murder went unsolved until August 2011 when prosecutors say DNA evidence found in Baker’s home was a match to evidence found in the 1986 murder of another woman, Christine Morton. Norwood was linked to Christine’s murder through DNA found on a bandanna near the victim’s home.
Norwood faced a jury in 2013 and was convicted of Christine’s murder on March 27, 2013. He is currently serving a life sentence.