Ward is fighting in state court to have his conviction and sentence of life in prison for the kidnapping, robbery and murder of year-old convenience store worker Donna Denice Haraway overturned. A customer said he saw two men in the store acting suspiciously shortly before her disappearance, and later witnesses said they saw a man and woman leave the store, get into a grey or light-blue primered pickup and leave. Haraway was nowhere to be found, and the cash register was open and devoid of cash, and a lit cigarette was still burning in an ashtray, witnesses said.
Later, both men would say those confessions had been coerced and interrogators had supplied them with details to include in their confessions.
In his confession, Ward told police that Haraway had been wearing a button-up blouse with a print of little blue roses, and that she had died after being kidnapped from multiple stab wounds. Forensic evidence showed that Haraway died from a single gunshot wound to the head, and part of a red and white shirt was found near her remains. Since then, both men have fought to have their convictions again overturned.
Barrett, a criminal defense attorney from Norman, also represented Ron Williamsonwho, along with co-defendant Dennis Fritz, was convicted by a Pontotoc County jury for the rape and murder of year-old waitress Debbie Carter. Williamson was sentenced to death, but was able to get a new trial, where he was represented by Barrett. It was the limited discovery allowed by the judge that led to the uncovering of the plus pages of documents, Swygert and Barrett said.
Barring any delays, the discovery period in the case ends on June 14, and after that Swygert and Barrett said they plan to ask the court permission to file an amended petition in the case. That amended petition, if the court allows it, will likely contain information gleaned from those newly-uncovered documents, the attorneys said, though neither attorney would go into detail about what they have discovered so far.
It was not just the number of the pages, but the content of some of them. The content includes information the police had identifying other suspects, including some who matched the sketch, some who unlike Tommy had prior felony convictions, some who unlike Tommy had prior connection to the deceased.
Swygert said there are hints in those records — as well as in records provided by the OSBI a couple of years ago — that there were other records produced in the case that attorneys have yet to see. And we know this because other documents talk about it.
There were certain people interviewed, and there is no way these interviews were not documented somewhere, or very, very unlikely. The information contained in the newly-acquired records breathed new life into the decades-old case, Swygert said. When he approached the counter, she asked him not to leave and started to cry.
Traylor said he and his wife stayed with Haraway for about 15 minutes while she closed the store, and that she called the police about the incident, though an officer did not show up.
Traylor not calling the police or Mr. Ross to report this account, it is interesting that the genesis of this account is due to Mr.
Barrett said the incident may have happened, but it is not possible to rule out misidentification even if it did. If Mr. Barrett said that detail — which was used as evidence that Ward knew what Haraway was wearing the night she disappeared — was supplied to Ward by investigators to include in his confession. The prosecution hung their hat on him allegedly describing the blouse she was wearing. The idea that his statement was corroborated in any material way has fallen apart.
According to the National Registry of Exonerationsthere have been wrongful convictions overturned since that involved a false confessions. Five of those were in Oklahoma.
He said he had a dream where he was an investigator and went up to the apartment where the lady was killed and looked around and inaccurately described the crime scene and how she was killed.Oklahoma State Prison System.
Tommy Ward is currently serving out a life sentence without parole for the murder of Donna Denise Haraway, who disappeared in Ward, 58, was sentenced to death in ; that sentence has since been commuted to life without parole. They have now been in prison for 31 years, serving hard time for a murder committed by someone else.
Both are model prisoners. Tommy has been recommended for parole at least twice, but turned down by the board in Oklahoma. Both have excellent teams of lawyers who continue to work for their release.
Ward was born on September 21,according to prison records. Video Video related to tommy ward now: where is he today? In September ofWard and Fontenot were tried for first-degree murder, as well as one count of kidnapping and one count of robbery.
On Oct. Despite multiple attempts to appeal his conviction, Tommy Ward is still in prison, his death sentence having been commuted to life without parole.
Currently, Ward presides at the R. He is 58 years old. By Caroline Burke. Updated Dec 21, at pm. Donna Denise Haraway. Published Dec 21, at pm. Here's what you need to know about where they are now.Note: This article contains spoilers for The Innocent Man. If you're a true-crime binger, then Netflix's new documentary series The Innocent Man is one for you. Exploring some of the same themes presented in Making a Murdererthis six-part series — based on John Grisham's book of the same name — digs into allegations of judicial corruption and wrongful convictions.
The Innocent Man takes a deep-dive into two cases in the United States, both in Ada, Oklahoma, which happened during the early s. One was the murder of Denice Haraway, who went missing in when she disappeared from her place of work under suspicious circumstances. Two men, namely Karl Fontenot and Tommy Ward, were convicted of her murder before her body was found, and with little in the way of evidence besides their confessions.
In the police interview footage, clips of which are included in the documentary series, Fontenot and Ward described how they took Haraway and stabbed her. Ward claimed that they then burned her body. On the face of it, the tapes seem pretty damning. Both men maintain their innocence to this day, and claim that their confessions were false.
Haraway's remains were found a year and a half later, but not located where Ward and Fontenot had placed it in their statements. In fact, it was 30 miles away. What's more, an autopsy ruled that the cause of death had been a gunshot wound to the head.
No evidence of stab wounds were found. This completely undermined the cause of death and prosecution theory presented at Ward and Fontenot's trial. By the closing of the final episode, we're told that the State opposed Ward's post-conviction filing, and that he is now waiting for a judge to review it in His attorney Mark Barrett, who also makes an appearance in the series, is working towards filing another appeal in order to fight for Ward's exoneration.
He has now been in prison for 34 years. Meanwhile, at the end of filming, Karl Fontenot was waiting on news about his federal appeal. At time of writing, he is still serving his life sentence without the possibility of parole, and is now 54 years old. Fontenot's case was picked up by The Innocence Project inbut there's been no new information on their website regarding his case since.
There is an active social media campaign, with a 'Free Karl Fontenot' Facebook page. As we've seen in the case of Steven Averythis documentary series could bring a new spotlight onto the case. Rather chillingly, The Innocent Man ends with some shocking food for thought: it is estimated that there are currently 90, innocent people, wrongfully convicted, in the US system. Want up-to-the-minute entertainment news and features? Type keyword s to search. Advertisement - Continue Reading Below.
Almost a third of Ordeal by Innocence reshot in 12 days.ADA, Okla. Fontenot is set to walk out of prison on December He has consistently maintained his innocence. The family of Tommy Ward, the other man connected to this case, believes this decision could help win his freedom as well. I thought Tommy was just going to spend the rest of his life in there. It's a long time coming, and he deserves to be out Tommy deserves to be out.
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Connect Biography. Convicted killer Karl Fontenot is scheduled to be released from an Oklahoma prison on December 19, Department of Corrections. Tommy Ward remains imprisoned for the murder of Denice Haraway. Also on the Web.
Begin by entering your email address in the field below or call Log into Member Center. Not you? Log out. We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.It documents the murder cases of two Ada women: Debbie Carter, raped and killed inand Denice Haraway, who went missing and was found murdered two years later.
Two men were convicted in Carter's case, but both were ultimately cleared by DNA evidence years later. The series revealed mistakes and bad decisions made by the investigators and prosecutors in that case. It also detailed similar issues in the Haraway case, suggesting that the two men who are still in prison for her murder, Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot, perhaps should not have been charged and convicted.
Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot have been in prison for more than 30 years for a crime they say they didn't commit. InFontenot's legal team asked for any new evidence in the case, but the city and police department said there was no such evidence. Ward's legal team sent a similar request one year later, and was given three boxes of new evidence. According to a court order from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, Karl Fontenot should be either released from prison or granted a new trial.
Fontenot's lawyer challenged his murder conviction saying that newly discovered evidence proves that his client is innocent, his rights were violated when the district attorney's office withheld evidence, police interfered with his attorney-client privilege and that police knowingly presented false testimony during his trial.
Fontenot was arrested the next day and allegedly confessed to the murder. However, he and Ward both recanted their confessions and said they were coerced. Instead, Fontenot says he told investigators about a dream he had of Haraway's murder, which was used as a confession.
When Haraway's remains were found, investigators discovered that she had been shot and not stabbed. In fact, they say the details in Fontenot's confession didn't match any of the evidence at the scene. Besides the confession, there was no direct or circumstantial evidence connecting [Fontenot] to this crime," the order states. It states that Ada police detectives admitted that nothing in Fontenot's confession was corroborated by their investigation. It goes on to say that despite three court orders, the Pontotoc County District Attorney's Office, numerous law enforcement agencies, and officials with the Department of Corrections "have repeatedly failed to disclose documents relevant to Mr.
Fontenot's case for over twenty-five years. Fontenot's assertions of actual innocence and numerous constitutional violations. The audacity of that argument in the face of newly 'discovered' Ada Police Reports is astounding," the order read. Officials say the investigation revealed documents and witness statements that provided an alibi for Fontenot at the time of the murder.
One woman says that she testified about Fontenot and Ward attending a party the night of the murder. She testified during Ward's trial, but says she was told to recant her story. She says she was forced to sit in an office all day because she wouldn't recant her testimony. The order states that the defense didn't know at the time of the murder that Haraway had called police about receiving obscene telephone calls during her shift at work.
Those calls reportedly began in the weeks leading up to her disappearance.
No telephone records were obtained of incoming calls to the convenience store according to the disclosed OSBI reports," the order states. It goes on to say, "The newly discovered evidence was not presented to either of Mr. Fontenot's juries because the prosecution failed to disclose it to defense counsel.
Where Are Tommy Ward And Karl Fontenot Today? 'The Innocent Man' Prisoners' Story Isn't Over
Beyond the failure to disclose, this evidence illustrates the defects in the police investigation into Mrs. Haraway's disappearance. This evidence should have been investigated ingiven this evidence was willingly provided by those closest to Mrs.
Haraway either on the night of her disappearance, or within a day or so of it. Following over a hundred pages of evidence detailed in the court order, the court ultimately decided that the evidence in the case did not establish that Fontenot was involved in Haraway's murder.
Haraway's death could find beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Fontenot should be convicted based solely on his unsubstantiated confession. The order says that Fontenot should get either a new trial or should be permanently released from custody.
Officials from the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office say they are currently reviewing the document.Skip navigation! Martha Sorren. Netflix's true crime wave is showing no signs of slowing down. Following up on docu-series like Making a Murderer and The StaircaseNetflix's new series, The Innocent Manalso calls into question the guilt of the perpetrators it focuses on.
Tommy Ward Now: Where Is He Today? Was He Released?
Karl Fontenot and Tommy Ward were both convicted in the murder of Denice Haraway in Ada, OK, but later recanted their confessions and claimed to be innocent. The Netflix series chronicles the twists and turns of the trials, and it ultimately shows viewers where Fontenot and Ward are now.
As ofboth men remain in prison serving out life sentences for Haraway's murder. But they are working on getting those convictions overturned and have been doing so for years.
Fontenot and Ward were initially sentenced to death after their convictions, according to The Oklahoman. Even though Haraway's body hadn't been found, the two men were tried based on videotaped confessions where Ward described having a dream that he kidnapped and killed Haraway with Fontenot and another man. Read our recaps of The Innocent Man. Per Oklahoma's News 9, the third man ended up having an alibi and was not arrested.
Ward and Fontenot were both convicted in a joint trial. Then, inon the day Fontenot and Ward were due to be executed, Haraway's remains turned upanother Oklahoman article reported. The development in the case allowed for Ward and Fontenot to be retriedthis time separately.
Episode 4 of the Netflix series notes that the pair were granted those trials in Fontenot was again sentenced to deathbut Ward was sentenced to life in prison, per The Oklahoman.
Then, inFontenot's death sentence was vacated and he was resentenced. Oklahoma inmate records show that he was given life in prison without the possibility of parole. According to The Oklahomanmany of the details they'd initially shared in their confessions were inconsistent with the remains.
For example, neither man mentioned shooting Haraway, but she was found with a bullet wound in her head. Fontenot had also claimed to have set the body on fire, but the remains discounted that. Despite these inconsistencies, both men were again convicted.
Oklahoma inmate records report that Fontenot received life in prison without the possibility of parole, and Ward received life.Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Tommy Ward (feat. Alex Hahn)
Later, inThe Innocence Project's website reported that the Oklahoma chapter had selected Fontenot as their first client and had begun working on his appeal.
InThe Oklahoman reported that his appeal was denied by an Oklahoma county district judge who ruled that it had been too long since Fontenot's initial conviction date.Oklahoma State Penitentiary System. Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot were convicted of the murder of Donna Denise Haraway, who disappeared in the spring of Ward and Fontenot are still in prison serving out life sentences without chance of parole.
According to Grisham, Ward was a high school dropout with extensive family in Ada. One such misdemeanor included the count of attempted larceny that Ward was arrest for in You can read the court records on it here ; the case was dismissed in However, Ward had no known connection to Haraway prior to her disappearance.
In September ofWard and Fontenot were tried for first-degree murder, as well as one count of kidnapping and one count of robbery. On Oct. They have now been in prison for 31 years, serving hard time for a murder committed by someone else. Both are model prisoners. Tommy has been recommended for parole at least twice, but turned down by the board in Oklahoma.
Both have excellent teams of lawyers who continue to work for their release. Tommy Ward broke down after a long night of abusive interrogation. When he cracked, he decided to give the police the sensational story they wanted, knowing full well that a complete investigation would clear him.
Currently, Fontenot is 53 and serving life without parole at the Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite. By Caroline Burke. Updated Dec 14, at am. Tommy Ward Confession Footage. Published Dec 14, at am. The Netflix series "The Innocent Man" profiles their case.