Oklahoma court reinstates ‘Innocent Man’ murder conviction

Aug 29, 2022, 11:26 PM | Updated: Aug 30, 2022, 11:55 am
FILE - This photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows Tommy Ward, who has spen...

FILE - This photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows Tommy Ward, who has spent 35 years in prison in a murder case featured in the book and television series 'The Innocent Man'. In a ruling dated Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals reinstated the murder conviction and life sentence of Ward. (Oklahoma Department of Corrections via AP, File)

(Oklahoma Department of Corrections via AP, File)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has reinstated the murder conviction and life sentence of a man featured in the book and television series “The Innocent Man.”

The court overturned a lower court decision that said because prosecutors and police withheld evidence that could exonerate Tommy Ward, 61, of the 1984 murder of Donna Denice Haraway in Ada.

The ruling, dated Friday, said the withheld evidence, which included witness interviews and police reports, had been available to Ward’s defense since 2003 and was not included in Ward’s direct appeal after his 1999 conviction.

“Raising the same general categories on post-conviction that one raised on direct appeal, even if the basis is different, will result in a procedural bar,” according to the state court’s opinion.

“He’s very disappointed that he’s still in prison for a murder he didn’t commit,” Ward’s attorney, Mark Barrett, said Tuesday.

“We are pressing forward… exploring the possibility of going to federal court” with additional appeals, Barrett said.

Barrett noted that the appeals court ordered the lower court to consider an additional claim regarding new evidence discovered in 2019.

That evidence includes previously undisclosed suspects and whether police provided Ward with information about the victim’s blouse, which prosecutors said he had described.

Ward’s accurate description of the blouse was the “only information that he gave that was correct” in his confession, Barrett said.

Ward had told police Haraway, 24, was stabbed and buried, but her skull, found more than a year after her disappearance, showed evidence of a gunshot wound and no evidence of stabbing, according to an autopsy.

Ward and co-defendant Karl Fontenot’s initial convictions and death sentences for Harway’s death were overturned, but both were again convicted on retrial with Fontenot again receiving a death sentence and Ward being sentenced to life in prison.

Fontenot’s death sentence was later reduced to life before his conviction was reversed by a federal appeals court. It was later upheld when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the state’s appeal.

The convictions of Ward and Fontenot have been the subject of numerous books, including John Grisham’s “The Innocent Man,” which he produced into a six-part documentary.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE--In this June 20, 2019, file photo Deangelo Martin stands for a probable cause hearing, in Det...
Associated Press

Detroit man sentenced in killings of 4 women, 2 sex assaults

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit man was sentenced to at least 45 years in prison after pleading guilty to murdering four women whose bodies were found in vacant houses and to sexually assaulting two other women. A Wayne County Circuit Court judge sentenced Deangelo Martin, 37, on Thursday to 45 to 70 years behind bars. […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Indian workers rescued from job scams in Southeast Asia

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s government on Friday said it has rescued about 130 Indian workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia after they were lured by agents for fake job opportunities in the information technology sector in Thailand. Arindam Bagchi, the External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, said some fraudulent IT companies appear to be engaged in […]
1 day ago
FILE - Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao answers a question during a Zoom meeting interview with The Assoc...
Associated Press

Binance hacked to the tune of $100 million or more

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, may have lost more than $100 million following a hack of its Binance Smart Chain blockchain network. A reddit post by Binance discussing the incident said that the company temporarily suspended transactions and the transfer of funds after detecting an exploit between two blockchains. “The issue is contained now. […]
1 day ago
CVS sign is shown in Wadsworth Plaza in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021.  CVS Health shares...
Associated Press

CVS Medicare Advantage business takes quality rating hit

CVS Health shares tumbled early Friday after the company said a big Medicare Advantage plan took a hit in government quality ratings about a week before a key enrollment window opens for the coverage. The health care giant said that its Aetna National PPO dropped from 4.5 stars to 3.5 in 2023 ratings, which were […]
1 day ago
Secretary General of the Organization of American States, OAS, Luis Almagro addresses the OAS durin...
Associated Press

Org. of American States boss faces probe over relationship

MIAMI (AP) — The head of the Organization of American States is facing an internal investigation into allegations he carried on a consensual relationship with a staffer that may have violated the organization’s code of ethics, The Associated Press has learned. News of the probe into a relationship between Secretary General Luis Almagro and a […]
1 day ago
In this photo released by Malaysia's Department of Information, Malaysia's Finance Minister Zafrul ...
Associated Press

Malaysia plans smaller 2023 budget, goodies ahead of polls

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia plans record development spending in 2023 despite a proposed smaller national budget Friday that is also laden with the usual cash handouts, tax cuts and other goodies ahead of impending general elections. Finance Minister Zafrul Aziz unveiled in Parliament a budget proposal of 372.3 billion ringgit ($80 billion), down […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Oklahoma court reinstates ‘Innocent Man’ murder conviction