The woman who has acted as spokesperson for the Robertson family was the topic of much argument inside a Platte County Courtroom Friday during a hearing on Mark Woodworth's third trial.
Susan Ryan said the Robertson family hired her after a Kansas City Star article was first published about their mother's murder in 1990.
Woodworth's defense attorneys argued Friday that Ryan works for the St. Louis prosecutor's office as a media relations professional and alleged Ryan has a close working relationship with Rachel Smith, the trial attorney for the Missouri Attorney General's Office in Woodworth's second trial.
Julie Tolle, trial attorney in the current case for the Missouri Attorney General's Office, vehemently denied in court her office has anything to do with Ryan.
"They're just trying to distract from the actual evidence in the case and bring up issues that are not even relevant," Rhonda Oesch said.
Oesch's mother, Cathy Robertson, is the homicide victim. Her family lived across the street from Woodworth's family home and Cathy Robertson was killed as she slept in 1990
Tolle asked a Platte County judge to bus in jurors from another county because of the media attention and the potential dirtying of the jury pool.
Woodworth's defense attorneys argued back and have been responding to Ryan's comments on the case made on social media.
KCTV5 asked Ryan about her work with the St. Louis prosecutor's office. In her email response, Ryan said that focusing on her rather than the murder victim and the victim's family is an attempt of the defense to distract the media. Her reply is below.
"I am an independent public relations, human resources and marketing professional with clients across the country in diverse industries. I was hired by the Robertson family on August 19, 2011 to help them respond to a Kansas City Star front-page article on Mark Woodworth. The Roberson's learned of the article on the Friday evening prior to its Sunday publication of August 21, 2011.
"Mark Woodworth and his defense team provided information and interviews for the KC Star, just as they did for the AP article that went national in August of 2009.
"The Robertson's did not interview for that article either, despite the fact that Woodworth did. I was asked by the Robertson's to assist them because the media attention regarding this case was getting unbearable.
"I am not an employee of the State of Missouri, nor do I work for the Attorney General's Office. My work for the Robertson's is in no way related to my work for any other clients, and any suggestions to that are completely false. My support of the Robertson family is totally unrelated to the evidence the State of Missouri has against Mark Woodworth, and this is another attempt by the defense to distract people from the evidence against Mark Woodworth."
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