Thursday, July 12, 2007

Innocent Ones Arrested?

I shall ask you one prominent question about American Police. I meant, your idea about Indian rural police and American rural police. Whom do you think better of the two? Ok, you will have a better answer after reading this.

Recently I was reading "The Innocent Man", by John Grisham. It was not as I expected it to be. Though, a thriller, its pace was slow. I skipped half the book and went to the last sections which was, to my surprise, authors note. I followed his note and came to know that the book was a real story. After reading it, my opinion of American Police changed!

On december 1982, there was a rape followed by murder in Ada, a small town in US. The girl was Debbie Carter who happened to had no rivals at all. The police could not find the real killer and arrested and charged a man named Ron Williamson only because a guy named Glen Gore told the police that he was there with her on the night in the club Coachlight, even though there were witnesses who saw Gore dropped by near her apartment late in the evening, on the same date. Dennis Fritz was also charged only because he used to go to bars with Ron. The police had blood and hair as evidence and they didn't match with either Ron or Fritz.

A year and a half later, a woman named Denise Haraway disappeared mysteriously. A boy named Tommy Ward was arrested considering Haraway was murdered and disposed by him only because someone described two boys with a young lady and one of the boys description matched Tommy Ward's. The point was the description which caused to arrest Tommy Ward was matching almost half the boys in the town. And after questioning him continuously for eight and a half hours, that was unrecorded, he was exhausted answering to questions he never knew. Finally he confessed saying he dreamt of something like murder only so that he could tell the truth in the court and to get relaxed for the moment. He could never relax in his life!

Karl Fontenot arrested only since he was Tommy's friend and he too was made to confess. Even though their confessions conflicted on the way Haraway was murdered, the police claim they were the killers and the police don't have any clue or evidence!

Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot are still serving behind the bars. Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz were released in 1999 as they were proved to be innocent by DNA test.

Indian police, in my opinion, may not be able to find the killers quickly but they would not file charges on innocent ones. Answer to above question now.

Statement of John Grisham
"It is an intriguing and horrifying story: the story of the dream that got Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot convicted. Karl and Tommy deserve attention and help. I encourage anyone with any information about this case to send it to their attorney. It is important to learn from this nightmare. It is also important that this nightmare somehow be unraveled."

For more details, please read "The innocent man - By John Grisham" and visit Even if you google it, now you will get numerous sites about the tales.


Barbara's Journey Toward Justice said...

Great Post. May I recommend reading Journey Toward Justice Author Dennis Fritz. I started my blog after I read his book. Barbara's Journey Toward Justice Blog. Please stop by. Here is something from my blog.

Dennis Fritz The Other Innocent Man in John Grisham's Book The Innocent Man.

Dennis Fritz writes his own story. Endorsed on Jacket by John Grisham and States on Jacket Compelling and Fascinating.

A Companion book to The Innocent Man, Journey Toward Justice by Dennis Fritz. True Crime, Murder and Injustice in a Small Town. Journey Toward Justice is a testimony to the Triumph of the human Spirit and is a Memoir. Dennis Fritz was wrongfully convicted of rape and murder after a swift trail.
The only thing that saved him from the Death Penalty was a lone vote from a juror. Dennis Fritz was the other Innocent man mentioned in John Grisham's Book. which mainly is about Ronnie Williamson, Dennis Fritz's co-defendant. Both were exonerated after spending 12 years in prison.
The real killer was one of the Prosecution's Key Witness. Read about why he went on a special diet of his while in prison, amazing and shocking. Dennis Fritz's Story of unwarranted prosecution and wrongful conviction needs to be
Read about how he wrote hundreds of letters and appellate briefs in his own defense and immersed himself in an intense study of law. He was a school teacher and a ordinary man whose wife was brutally murdered in 1975 by a deranged 17 year old neighbor.

On May 8th 1987, Five years after Debbie Sue Carter's rape and murder he was home with his young daughter and put under arrest, handcuffed and on his way to jail on charges of rape and murder.

After 10 years in prison he discovered The Innocence Project, a non-profit legal organization. With the aid of Barry Scheck and DNA evidence Dennis Fritz was exonerated on April 15,1999 Since then, it has been a long hard road filled with twist and turns and now on his Journey Toward Justice.

He never blamed the Lord and solely relied on his faith in God to make it through. He waited for God's time and never gave up

lmwkwhome said...

It is unfortunately true that many innocent people are convicted, sometimes by prosecutors who bend the law (often by hiding evidence) to gain those convictions.

There is significant documentation of such improper convictions, in a series by the Chicago Tribune, in a study by Columbia Law School, in the book "In Spite of Innocence," and in the marvelous work of Barry Scheck and his colleagues in the Innocence Project.

It is a serious blemish on the American criminal justice system that too many prosecutors abuse their power, and get away with it.

My second novel, “A Good Conviction,” tells the story of a young man wrongfully convicted in a high profile Central Park murder, brought about by a prosecutor who knew the defendant was actually innocent and hid the exculpatory evidence that would have led to a not guilty verdict.

Several prosecutors and appeals attorneys helped me with the legal aspects of a Brady appeal in New York State, and all of them agreed that what I portrayed was both realistic and all too possible.

Readers have found it to be fast paced, exciting, and heartbreaking.

You can find "A Good Conviction" at page ...

I'd be curious as to your opinion of whether a novel based on truth can be even more effective in drawing attention to the terrible wrongs done to so many people by prosecutors who abuse their power.


anna said...

thank you gowtham for your insight into the rural american police. i recently read an innocent man also and heard the epilogue about tommy ward and karl fontenot... my mother was murdered in 2005 and my ex-boyfriend wrote a statement saying i did it and i sat in jail for almost 8 months... thank god the district attorney did not agree with the local sherriffs and i was never indicted and i was released.... truly a horrifying experience and i miss my mother everyday so much... and the killer is still walking free and they have never officially dropped charges on me yet or apologized... which i won't hold my breath waiting for but at least i am free and not behind bars like tommy and karl... well thank you for your article... take care, anna

Gowtham said...

First of all the pain of missing dearly mother, on top of it these charges!!! Take Care anna