Thursday, February 28, 2008

Please Help My Cousin Prove His Innocence

My cousin Tommy Ward was wrongfully convicted of Murder over 20 years ago. Despite evidence, he was convicted because of a dream he had about the event. The details of his dream/confession were nowhere close to matching the actual events of the victims death, rape, or the location of her body. My family and I have been stripped of the joys of having Tommy in our lives for far too long. He has been denied a wonderful life because the justice system needed someone to blame for the crime.

Persons with information about the Denice Haraway homicide may send e-mail to:
Or write to:
Mark Barrett, Attorney
P.O. Box 896
Norman, Oklahoma 73070

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

~Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot were convicted of murdering Denise Haraway. Haraway, 24, worked part-time at McAnally’s convenience store in Ada, Oklahoma. She was last seen leaving the store on April 28, 1984, with a man who had his arm around her waist. The two appeared to be a pair of lovers. The store was found deserted with the cash register drawer opened and emptied. Haraway’s purse and driver’s license were found inside, and her car nearby.
~Months later, after Haraway still remained missing, police questioned Tommy Ward, who resembled the man accompanying Haraway from the store. After days of interrogation, Ward confessed to the crime. He also implicated his friend, Karl Fontenot, and Odell Titsworth, a man he never met. During the videotaped confession, Ward frequently forgot Titsworth’s name and called him “Titsdale.” Ward said the three gang-raped Haraway, murdered her with Titsworth’s knife, and dumped her body near Sandy Creek.
~Fontenot was soon arrested and confessed after only two hours of interrogation. His confession was similar to Ward’s but contradicted it many details, like the order in which the three raped Haraway, or the location and number of stab wounds on her. Fontenot said the three brought Haraway into an abandoned house, where Titsworth poured gasoline over her body and burned down the house. Ward had mentioned a burned down house in an earlier unrecorded confession, and police knew it existed.
~Titsworth was arrested, but he had broken his arm two days before the murder in a fight with police. Medical and police records made him an unlikely suspect, and he was never charged with murder. While police were sifting through the remains of the burned down house, the owner appeared. After police told him of Fontenot’s confession, the owner said Fontenot’s story was impossible, as he himself had burned down the house 10 months before the murder.
~At trial, the prosecutor presented the confessions and was forced into the position of telling the jury the defendants were lying about details while asking the jury to believe them anyway. Two jailhouse informants supplemented the confessions. One said Ward confessed, while the other said he overheard Fontenot talking to himself, saying, “I knew we’d get caught. I knew we’d get caught.” The jurors returned with guilty verdicts and death penalties.
~Haraway’s body was found four month’s later in Hughes County, far from anyplace that was searched. She had not been stabbed or burned, but died from a single gunshot to the head.
Other Links of Importance:

There are three books about this and other wrongful convictions by the corrupt DA Bill Peterson of Pontotoc County, Oklahoma. The First is titled "The Dreams of Ada" By Robert Mayer, "Journey Towards Justice" By: Dennis Fritz, and the latest is "The Innocent Man" By John Grisham. Please help spread the word about this tragedy that has been plaguing my family for over two decades. Your comments are very much appreciated.

Thank you,
Stacy Lyn (Johnson City, TN)
(cousin of Tommy Ward)