Woodworth Files Lawsuit After Serving Time for Murder

By Jonathan Cooper | jcooper@kq2.com

Published 08/11 2014 10:20PM

Updated 08/12 2014 09:56AM

(CHILLICOTHE, Mo.) "It's been about 22 years dealing with it."

Those were the words of Mark Woodworth just one month ago, hours after finding out a special prosecutor dropped murder charges against him.

But now, the Chillicothe man is fighting back.

On Monday, his lawyer Robert Ramsey filed a civil lawsuit against those they say are responsible for his wrongful conviction.

Ramsey spoke out after Woodworth was freed in 2013.

"To me it shows that the system can work," he said after he was released.

Thirteen people are listed as defendants, as well as Livingston County, the Livingston County Sheriff's Department, the City of Chillicothe and the Chillicothe Police Department.

Among those named are former Congressman Kenny Hulshof, who was a special prosecutor in the original case.

Lyndel Robertson, the husband of the victim, Kathy Robertson, and the only witness to the shooter, are also named.

The lawsuit claims Robertson originally claimed the shooter was their daughter's boyfriend Brandon Hagan, but within weeks of the shooting, he changed his story.

The case claims he changed his story so his daughter Rochelle would not be prosecuted for the shootings.

Another defendant is Rachel Smith, who was assigned to the Missouri Attorney General's office to try Woodworth's second trial.

She told KQ2 in 2000, she thought Woodworth was guilty.

"Nobody wants to think somebody they know and love killed someone," she said during the second trial. "Unfortunately every murderer is somebody's friend, somebody's brother and somebody's son. That doesn't mean they didn't commit the crime."

The lawsuit claims Smith "engaged in overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy to wrongfully convict Mark Woodworth."

It also claims she gave false testimony in a 2011 evidentiary hearing.

The lawsuit is asking for punitive damages in the case.

Mark Woodworth spoke with KQ2 this afternoon, but says his attorney has advised him not to comment on the case.

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