John Bradley's "Bandana Bandit" Strikes


A very loud message is being sent to District Attorney John Bradley without a word being spoken.

Of all the pieces of evidence that led to the exoneration of Michael Morton, the bloody bandana found in the construction area behind the house where the murder was committed stands as the most dramatic and illustrative symbol of the case. When the bandana was finally tested, DNA was found belonging to the victim, Christine Morton, and Mark Allen Norwood, who is now the chief suspect in the case and is awaiting trial. (Norwood's DNA also was found on a hair at the murder scene of Debra Baker, who was killed two years after the Morton murder was committed.)

Not only was the bandana withheld from the jury and Morton's defense team in the 1987 trial in which Morton was wrongfully convicted, it was continually suppressed by the current district attorney, John Bradley, who joined the Williamson County DA's office in 1989 and was appointed DA in 2001. But even after he was appointed as DA and then subsequently elected and re-elected, Bradley continued to fight hard against Morton's efforts to have the bandana tested for DNA.

A recent story was published in the Houston Chronicle about John Raley, Morton’s attorney. One line from the story states, “Nina Morrison now laughs when she recalls the naiveté that Raley, a civil litigator with expertise in medical malpractice, brought to the criminal court arena: He said, 'Of course the prosecutors will want to do DNA testing. Who wouldn't want to do DNA testing?'" But as we all know, Raley picked up plenty of criminal law experience in his six year battle with Bradley to get testing done - and he was ultimately victorious. Matter of fact, he picked up enough to dismantle Bradley in the process. The "Battle of the Johns" now stands at Raley 23 - Bradley 1

Not only did Bradley work incredibly hard to keep the bandana out of play, he repeatedly mocked Morton's efforts to have it tested. Here are a few quotes made by Bradley during the fight to have the bandana tested.

The bloody bandana was “irrelevant”.


One has to wonder whether petitioner would file another motion at some future date seeking additional testing of even more items.”


Bradley repeatedly mocked Mr. Morton's claim that DNA testing on the bandana and other items could possibly be linked, in Mr. Bradley's words, to "a mystery killer".

"Prior to her death, Christine sustained a minor injury while in the area behind her property and used the previously-discarded bandana to wipe away her blood."

Bradley derided Michael Morton’s request to test the evidence in light of the unsolved case as “silly,” and he told Rick Casey of the Houston Chronicle that Morton was “grasping at straws” by refusing to give up his quest for DNA testing.

Bradley also stated in 2008: "The public might want to remain skeptical of a defendant who to this day doesn't accept responsibility."  Bradley made the statement as Morton continued his fight to gain access to exculpatory evidence, especially the bandana.

Bradley argued that the bandana with the case-solving DNA was irrelevant because it was found “a football field’s length” away from the murder scene.

It should not incorporate the possibility of a match of any DNA profile recovered from the bandana to a known offender.”

Bradley said that a good step “might be to get a written agreement that all the evidence can be destroyed after the conviction and sentence. Then, there is nothing to test or retest."

The mocking didn’t stop with Bradley. One of Bradley's assistant DAs, Tommy Coleman, was heard mocking the evidence at one of the hearings in 2011 leading to Morton's exoneration.  As he sat in the hallway outside the courtroom, Coleman sarcastically said, “Bloody bandana, bloody bandana, eewwwww!”

In the end, Bradley lost the fight when the Texas Third Court of Appeals ruled that Bradley had to turn over the bandana, which resulted in the testing, and that resulted in Morton's exoneration and Norwood's arrest in 2011. Because of Bradley's efforts in suppressing the bandana and keeping it from being tested, Morton spent several years in prison unnecessarily. In other words, if Bradley had not resisted, Morton would have been exonerated many years sooner. Judge Doug Arnold stated it was in fact Bradley who ordered the mighty fight waged against testing the bandana and stated that in a sworn statement:  “I thought that our positions were, at the time, legally justifiable. I don't think that any longer.” (click here to read The Judge Doug Arnold Sworn Statement: The Truth About John Bradley story)

Oddly enough, even after the bandana showed DNA from Norwood, Bradley continued fighting until he could fight no more. Then, in an attempt to save face, he jumped ship and publicized he was “joining the efforts” of Morton’s attorneys to get Morton released from prison.
Bradley made a statement the day Morton was officially exonerated on December 19, 2011 that was so bizarre; those close to Bradley even stated that it shows just how desperate he is with his attempts to spin his way out of the hole he has dug for himself.

“There’s no question if we have had DNA testing and we had known what we know today 25 years ago, everyone would have tested the bandana and discovered what value it had as evidence.” – John Bradley


And now, as Bradley faces a major challenge in his effort to be re-elected, that now-famous symbol of the Morton case has begun to turn up next to Bradley's re-election signs. A person or persons dubbed as the “Bandana Bandit” is sticking bandanas next to Bradley's campaign signs in a symbolic display. The bold and unmistakable statement of these bandanas regarding Bradley's role in keeping Michael Morton locked up in prison much longer than necessary speaks louder than words.

One question remains to be seen. Will John Bradley order the bandanas tested for DNA to discover the identity of the “Bandana Bandit”?

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  • 12/27/2011 4:24 PM Wilco Voter 78626 wrote:
    Priceless! Karma! Out with John Bradley!
    Reply to this
  • 12/27/2011 4:40 PM PT wrote:
    That is the most awesome statement I have ever seen made! I love it! You can bet I will not vote for Bradley. No one I have talked to is either.
    Reply to this
  • 12/27/2011 4:41 PM RRW wrote:
    The thing that really bothers me is the fact the DA and Judge were very hard on people they THINK made a mistake even to the point of hiding evidence, but when we find out what they have done they THINK there should be NO consequences for them. It appears they are worse than the criminals they THINK they are protecting us from. They want to go on as if they did nothing wrong. Their day WILL come.
    Reply to this
  • 12/27/2011 5:11 PM John B wrote:
    Attention Bandana Bandit: While I'm not able to help hang bandanas on John Bradley's campaign signs, I'm more than happy to help fund the hanging of those bandanas. If you run out of bandanas, I'll gladly help pay for more!
    Reply to this
  • 12/27/2011 7:54 PM Mike wrote:
    The bandana was blue, wasn't it? I want to go buy bandanas and do this, but isn't it a felony to interfere with a campaign sign? or is it only a felony if a candidate messes with another candidate's sign? Anybody know for sure?
    Reply to this
    1. 12/27/2011 8:20 PM Unk PD Officer wrote:
      It was blue but the significance in my opinion is red was hung to represent the "bloody bandana". At MOST if the sign is not damaged it would be a class C misdemeanor "criminal mischief substantial inconvenience" to remove the bandana. Being Morton was "inconvenienced" for 6 extra years by Bradley keeping him in prison, Bradley would be an idiot to even consider that charge. Best thing he can do is take all of his signs down and resign. I see it only getting worse for him. He has no support in the Law Enforcement community. Matter of fact, anyone I talk to say they are not voting for him. I have not heard one person say they support him.
      Reply to this
      1. 12/27/2011 8:35 PM al wrote:
        As desperate as jb is I wouldn't put anything past him.
        Reply to this
  • 12/27/2011 7:58 PM Retired from Wilco wrote:
    Adam, Very Impressive. Both Anderson and Bradley! I only hope that you have sent these pictures (and a description of what they mean) to EVERY news media that you know of OR heard of. Why a description (Bradley's)sign? Everyone that reads this site or the Press on a daily basis knows EXACTLY what that picture means with a bloody bandanna. But so many people, if they drove by a yard and saw this sign would not have a clue. BUT if all Media, and TV print/air then maybe more will get the point. Months ago even CNN had a story on this. The Watchdog has printed numerous links to other sites that have picked upon this story.

    Great work!
    Reply to this
  • 12/27/2011 9:22 PM Susan wrote:
    I think we (anyone & everyone) should make a statement by wearing a blue bandanna in the Williamson County Injustice Center from now until election day. The more people, the better! That would really send a message!
    Reply to this
  • 12/27/2011 11:15 PM della street wrote:
    Why did Ken Anderson shave his beard before his deposition?

    Who is following the McKinney case, the murder that happened before the Morton case? Is any DNA testing going on in that case?

    Wilco Watchdog, stir up some facts on this McKinney case. Maybe there's more to uncover.
    Reply to this
  • 12/28/2011 2:38 AM Montanafreedom wrote:
    I have been following John Bradley's career ever since he was appointed to the Texas Forensic Science Commission and worked to stop the investigation into the execution of Cameron todd Willingham. I am so glad that your organization is reporting on his behavior and hopefully he will never practice law again. It is terrible when people put their own needs in front of justice. We in Montana are going through something like this with Mr. Barry and our old Governor who prosecuted him Mark Racicot not being able to admit to a mistake. Hopefully Bradley and Anderson will have to foot the bill for the years Mr. Morton spent in prison and hopefully people like these will learn that it is more important to find justice than a win.
    Reply to this
  • 12/28/2011 7:32 AM jimshaw wrote:
    to whom might one donate $ to help defeat this man
    Reply to this
    1. 12/28/2011 11:21 AM John B wrote:
      Donate to the campaign of Jana Duty or the Democrat candidate (whose name escapes me) -- or donate to both!
      Reply to this
  • 12/28/2011 11:39 AM Pam wrote:
    I can tell you this is only the tip of the iceberg where Bradley and Anderson are concerned. There is so much more injustice deeper down than we can even imagine. Bandana's worn in the court room? - I'm all for it.
    Reply to this
  • 12/28/2011 11:54 AM Michael wrote:
    Gosh , not since OJ dropped his bloody gloves has there been a spell binding murder case with twists worthy of N. Grace`s Instant Justice. Where is she when she`s needed ? (stuffing her face) The case of the Wilco DNA Weasels & book II, the Clue of the Blue Bandana cries out for the justice of primetime coverage !
    Reply to this
  • 12/28/2011 12:04 PM Woah wrote:
    I noticed not 1, but two signs of JB's missing this morning on my commute... Hmmmm
    Reply to this
  • 12/29/2011 11:05 AM Elfisho wrote:
    The bandana tribute is a great idea! Maybe on election day, or beginning the weekend prior, folks can wear bandanas around the county to keep the news out there about Bradley.


    I hope the bandana thing chaps JB's arse.
    Reply to this
  • 12/30/2011 12:28 PM George wrote:
    Texas and Lousiana justice systems are run by criminals with a law degree (criminals who probably did not have the intelligence to go into math or science)..and Bradley and Ken Anderson are two such criminals masquerading as lawmen. More likely lawless men! The problem is the criminals sitting on the US Supreme Court Bench will continue to protect their fellow criminals running the justice system. That is the main reason why the US Justice system ranks below developing countries such as Chile and Barbados. It is a disgrace indeed!
    Reply to this
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