The first in a two-part series deconstructing the case against Michael Morton, who was convicted in 1987 of killing his wife but has maintained his innocence:
Michael was breathing hard. ‘Is my son okay?’ he asked.
‘He’s fine,’ Boutwell said. ‘He’s at the neighbors’.’
‘How about my wife?’
The sheriff was matter-of-fact. ‘She’s dead,’ he replied.
Boutwell led Michael into the kitchen and introduced him to Sergeant Don Wood, the case’s lead investigator. ‘We have to ask you a few questions before we can get your son,’ Boutwell told him. Dazed, Michael took a seat at the kitchen table. He had shown no reaction to the news of Christine’s death, and as he sat across from the two lawmen, he tried to make sense of what was happening around him. Sheriff’s deputies brushed past him, opening drawers and rifling through cabinets. He could see the light of a camera flash exploding again and again in the master bedroom as a police photographer documented what Michael realized must have been the place where Christine was killed. He could hear officers entering and exiting his house, exchanging small talk. Someone dumped a bag of ice into the kitchen sink and stuck Cokes in it. Cigarette smoke hung in the air.