Today I received another comment on my blog, Barbara's Journey Toward Justice, from a family member of Tommy Ward.
Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot were convicted of murdering Denice Haraway. Haraway, 24, worked part-time at McAnally’s convenience store in Ada, Oklahoma, USA.
John Grisham describes how they finally cracked the case:
After two hours of non-stop hammering, Tommy finally cracked. The pressure came from fear – Smith and Rogers (the police detectives) were angry and seemed perfectly able and willing to slap him around if not outright shoot him – but also from the horror of wasting away on death row before finally getting executed. And it was obvious to Tommy that he would not be allowed to leave until he gave the cops something. After five hours in the room, he was exhausted, confused, and almost paralyzed with fear. He made a mistake, one that would send him to death row and eventually cost him his freedom for life.
Tommy was brain-dead and barely able to mumble. He tried to recite their tale, but kept getting the facts mixed up. Smith and Rogers would stop him, repeat their fiction, and make him start over. Finally, after four rehearsals with little improvement and their star fading fast, the cops decided to turn on the camera. “Do it now”, they said to Tommy. "Do it right, and none of that dream bullshit."
At 6:58 p.m. Tommy Ward looked at the camera and stated his name. He had been interrogated for eight and a half hours, and he was physically and emotionally wasted… He told his tale. He, Karl Fontenot, and Odell Titsworth kidnapped Denice Haraway from the store, drove out to the power plant on the west side of town, raped her, killed her… Thirty-one minutes later the video was turned off.. END
The “confession” Tommy Ward made to the police wasn’t quite a confession, since the crime as he described it took place in a dream, rather than in real life. The policemen were unable to find the body where Tommy described it in his dream. Smith and Rogers used similar methods to get a confession out of Karl Fontenot.Tommy and Karl have been incarcerated about 22 years.
Tommy is serving a life sentence. Karl's sentence: life without parole.
As they serve another man's sentence, the real killer walks free.
Please read the heartbreaking comments his family made on my blog, Barbara's Journey Toward Justice
Here is one of them: