Attorneys for Tommy Ward said hundreds of pages of previously withheld documents prove an Oklahoma man serving a life sentence for murder should be set free. Ward’s case is featured in the Netflix documentary and John Grishim book “The Innocent Man.”
Ward's attorneys said the court documents they filed in Pontotoc County show law enforcement was not truthful about key evidence in Ward's trial.
Ward has spent the last 35 years in prison for a crime he says he didn't commit. His attorneys said thousands of pages of documents law enforcement was recently forced to turn over proves it.
“There is no reliable evidence against him from our standpoint,” said Ward’s attorney Mark Barrett.
Barrett said at the heart of the prosecution's case was a confession by Ward, that Ward later claimed was coerced. But in that confession Ward and fellow suspect Karl Fontenot both separately described the blouse victim Denice Haraway was wearing when she was killed.
“It was white with little blue roses on it,” Ward told law enforcement during a taped confession.
During Ward's trial law enforcement testified they didn't know what Haraway was wearing before they interviewed Ward. But Barrett said the new documents reveal police were told by Haraway's husband shortly after Denice disappeared that she was likely wearing the blue flowered blouse.
“Somehow Tommy gets that detailed information and puts it in his statement,” said Barrett.
When Haraway's body was discovered after the trial, a red and white striped shirt was found alongside her.
Barrett also said they also uncovered pages of evidence of at least one other suspect in the case that even Haraway's sister was suspicious of.
“There was very strong evidence against other people besides Tommy and Karl at a time where the prosecution was claiming there was no evidence about other suspects,” said Barrett.
A spokesperson for the attorney general's office said they are not commenting on these most recent filings. They now have 30 days to respond in court.