In Austin, Texas, several high-profile murder cases that were thought to be solved are now under question.

Michael Morton was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife. And the evidence that helped put him away? Mushrooms and zucchini.

Morton was wrongfully convicted and completely exonerated. He was released from prison after serving 25 years for killing his wife Christine.

"Thank God this wasn't a capital case, that I only had life," Morton said outside court.

So how did some vegetables help send an innocent man to prison?

The state of Texas says it was the testimony of Dr. Roberto Bayardo, the one-time chief medical examiner for Travis County.

Bayardo says the semi-digested food in Christine's stomach may reveal when she last ate and what time she died. Prosecutors said that gave Michael Morton a window of opportunity to kill. He was convicted primarily on circumstantial evidence.

Decades later Bayardo backs away from his testimony, claiming he was misquoted in the original trial, saying in a sworn statement: "This was not a scientific way to make a determination of time of death."

The prosecutor was accused of that misquote and was convicted of criminal contempt and lost his license to practice law. That is part of what led to Morton's release from prison after serving a quarter of a century behind bars for a crime he did not commit.

Years later cops found Christine's real killer, a Texas drifter named Mark Norwood, convicted and sentenced to life.

Crime Watch Daily Austin affiliate KXAN conducted a major investigation into Bayardo's autopsies.

The investigation discovered that Christine's autopsy was one of nearly 800 he performed that year. The nationally recommended limit is 325.

"We do 1,500 autopsies a year," said Bayardo. "We do from five to seven every day."

He reveals in his interview he did three or four autopsies every day of the week.

Bayardo is now retired, and tells KXAN why he was a one-man autopsy machine.

"Somebody had to do the work, there was nobody else to do it," said Bayardo.

KXAN found county records showing Bayardo made $250 per body.

"I was angry about it. It just made me indignant," said former Travis County Judge Bill Aleshire. He says Bayardo supplemented his salary by freelancing for other counties.

"It shows how many autopsies he did and how much money he got," said Aleshire. "That was a financial incentive for him to see how many autopsies he can do."

KXAN's investigation shows Bayardo raked in nearly $2.6 million in freelance autopsy income until he retired in 2006.

"I earned it," said Bayardo. "I had the capacity to do it, the professional knowledge to do it, so what's the problem?"

Michael Morton has written a book about his story, titled Getting Life: An Innocent Man's 25-Year Journey from Prison to Peace - A Memoir. Morton has since remarried, and he's reconnected with his son Eric, who was adopted by Christine's sister.

He will never get back the quarter-century he lost. But he says he got the happy ending he deserves.

"I am free, I am home and I am in love," said Morton. "Finally the long night has ended."

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