State defends handling of Woodworth evidence

      JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The state Attorney General's Office is opposing convicted murderer Mark Woodworth's request for an emergency hearing to highlight a prosecutor's doubts about evidence in the 1990 murder of a Chillicothe farm wife.

      The state says that the case should remain with the Missouri Court of Appeals in Kansas City rather than return to a circuit court in northwest Missouri.

      Woodworth was convicted in 1995 of killing his neighbor Cathy Robertson. That verdict was overturned on appeal but he was again convicted in 1999 and received a life sentence.

      An Associated Press investigation of the case found that former Livingston County prosecutor Doug Roberts declined to prosecute Woodworth and boycotted a grand jury hearing called to consider evidence in the crime.