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Getting Life: An Innocent Man’s 25-Year Journey from Prison to Peace

By Michael Morton

The shocking true story of a young father who spent twenty-five years in prison for a crime he did not commit—and his eventual exoneration via DNA evidence—and return to life as a free man.

On August 13, 1986, just one day after his thirty-second birthday, Michael Morton left work to pick up his three-year-old son Eric. When he arrived, the babysitter told him Michael’s wife, Chris, had never dropped their boy off. Michael knew instantly something was wrong. Eric was safe, but Chris Morton 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.

Nearly a quarter century later—following a decade of requests from the Innocence Project lawyers asking for DNA testing—improperly concealed transcripts that included Eric’s insistence that his “Daddy wasn’t there” and other critical details that only a firsthand witness could know were uncovered. The district attorney on Michael’s case never shared that transcript with the defense or, more importantly, the jury.

Imagine spending the days following the sudden, senseless death of your beloved wife as a suspect in her murder. And then being arrested, tried, and convicted, watching from behind bars as your son is raised by the in-laws who now believe you killed their daughter. Eric’s biannual visits were the only light in Michael’s life, and they stopped nearly halfway through his sentence.

Based on more than 800 pages of personal journals he wrote in prison, Getting Life reveals Michael’s unfathomable tale of injustice before he was released on October 4, 2011. This is the full account of what really happened to Chris, including the conviction of her true killer—and a no contest plea by the former prosecutor for criminal contempt of court—and how Michael was able to walk away and start life again… finally, as a free man.

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