Donna Denice Harraway murder: 5 fast facts you need to know. It was the second shocking criminal mystery in two years in the small Oklahoma town, after the rape and murder of Debbie Carter. In the following years, Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot were both charged and convicted with her murder.
Donna Denice Haraway Was a Convenience Store Clerk in Ada, Oklahoma, Leading up to Her Disappearance: Two years after Debbie Carter was found raped and murdered in her apartment, another shocking event happened in the small town of Ada, Oklahoma: year-old Haraway disappeared during a shift at the convenience store where she worked.
They had been married for eight months at the time of her disappearance.
Convicted Ada killer to be freed next month - KTEN.com
For several months, the case was left open, with Ada police struggling to find any legitimate evidence to work with. The Oklahoman. Both Ward and Fontenot were arrested on counts of kidnapping, rape, and murder.
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. Currently, Fontenot is 53 and serving life without parole at the Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite.
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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.
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.
Man featured in ‘The Innocent Man’ to be either released from prison or given new 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. 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.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.
Where Are Tommy Ward And Karl Fontenot Today? 'The Innocent Man' Prisoners' Story Isn't Over
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.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.
Tommy Ward: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
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.
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.Denice Haraway of Ada, Oklahoma went in for an ordinary day of work at her convenience store job on April 28, However, she would never be seen alive again.
The young woman's disappearance sparked decades of controversy as police scrambled to solve the crime, leading to the convictions of two men: Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot. The tribulations faced by the pair are depicted in Netflix's latest true crime docu-series, " The Innocent Man ," based on the John Grisham book of the same name.
The two insisted they were innocent, but still ended up convicted of Haraway's murder. So where are the two men now, more than 30 years later? The circumstances surrounding Ward and Fontenot's confessions were suspicious from the start, and in fact were later proved to be inconsistent with what had actually happened to Haraway: Her body was ultimately found years after she vanished, 30 miles away from where the duo said they had deposited it.
More damningly, Haraway had not been been stabbed as the young men had described. Instead, she had died from a gunshot wound. The only evidence the state used in convicting Ward was a confession that he later claimed was spun wildly from a dream he reported, and only came out after intense pressure and hours of brutal interrogation. Meanwhile, Fontenot, as explained in the Netflix series, had perhaps offered his testimony to the aggressive police because he both feared for his safety and wanted to escape from what was described as poverty and homelessness.
Which they did after I taped the statement," Fontenot said almost immediately after his interrogation, as described in Grisham's book. Ward and Fontenot were sentenced to death on January 21, after being found guilty of murdering Haraway. Ward and Fontenot were both granted a retrial a few years later, and again found guilty of Haraway's death. Fontenot was sentenced to death — again —but Ward was sentenced to life in prison, according to The Oklahoman.
The organization has not offered an update on the status of their efforts. John Grisham continues to correspond with both men. In a interview with The Marshall Projectthe author discussed their fates.
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. The conclusion of "The Innocent Man" docu-series notes that Ward's post-conviction filing has been opposed by the state, but that a judge will review the case in Ward's attorney, Mark Barrett, will also be filing an appeal for exoneration.
He is now 58 years old and says he will not admit guilt even if it means improving his chances at parole. Fontenot is currently awaiting the results of a federal appeal.
Get all your true crime news from Oxygen. Coverage of the latest true crime stories and famous cases explained, as well as the best TV shows, movies and podcasts in the genre. Both Ward and Fontenot would go on to recant their confessions. Ron Williamson. Crime TV.
Pop Culture.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.Puppy Love - Made Famous by Paul Anka
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.