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Oklahoma courtroom reinstates ‘Harmless Man’ homicide conviction

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Oklahoma courtroom reinstates ‘Harmless Man’ homicide conviction

Oklahoma Metropolis (Related Press) – The Oklahoma Legal Court docket of Appeals has reinstated the homicide conviction and life sentence of a person who appeared within the guide and TV sequence “The Innocent Man.”

The courtroom overturned a decrease courtroom ruling that prosecutors and police withheld proof that would exonerate Tommy Ward, 61, of the 1984 homicide of Donna Dennis Haraway in Ada.

Friday’s ruling mentioned the withheld proof, which included witness interviews and police stories, had been out there to Ward’s protection since 2003 and was not included in Ward’s direct enchantment after his 1999 conviction.

In response to the state courtroom’s opinion, “Elevating the same general categories in post-conviction raised on direct appeal, even if the basis is different, will result in a procedural prohibition.”

“He is deeply disappointed that he remains in prison for a murder he did not commit,” Ward’s lawyer, Mark Barrett, mentioned Tuesday.

RELATED VIDEO: Tommy Ward’s Daughter Says She Believes Him 100%

“We are moving forward … exploring the possibility of going to federal court,” Barrett mentioned, with extra appeals.

Barrett famous that the Court docket of Appeals ordered the decrease courtroom to think about a further declare associated to new proof found in 2019.

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That proof contains beforehand undisclosed suspects and whether or not police supplied Ward with data on the sufferer’s shirt, which the prosecution mentioned he described.

Barrett mentioned Ward’s correct description of the shirt was “the only information he gave that was correct” in his confession.

Ward instructed police that Haraway, 24, was stabbed and buried, however her cranium, which was discovered greater than a 12 months after her disappearance, confirmed proof of a gunshot wound and no proof of a stabbing, in response to the post-mortem.

Ward’s and defendant Karl Fontenot’s preliminary convictions and loss of life sentences for Haraway’s loss of life had been overturned, however had been once more convicted upon retrial with Fontenot and sentenced to loss of life and Ward was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Fontenot’s loss of life sentence was subsequently commuted to life earlier than the Federal Court docket of Appeals overturned his conviction. It was later upheld when the US Supreme Court docket refused to listen to the state’s enchantment.

The convictions of Ward and Fontenot have been the topic of a number of books, together with John Grisham’s “The Innocent Man,” which he produced as a six-part documentary.

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