Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tommy Ward's Dream Gets Him Death Penalty - A Cousin Starts a Blog For Help

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 ex-DA Bill Peterson of Pontotoc County, Oklahoma.
The First is titled, "The Dreams of Ada", Author Robert Mayer, next two are:
"Journey Towards Justice", Author Dennis Fritz,
and "The Innocent Man" , Author 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,

(cousin of Tommy Ward)

My Blog Here Please Help My Cousin Tommy Ward Is Innocent



This is really sad. Someone close to me was in prison for several years for a non violent offense and I was apalled at all the injustices that he witnessed and told us about. I applaud you for your cause!

Anonymous said...

There seem to be too many disconnects in the accounts of the convicted and the actual facts. They must have had an incompetent lawyer defending them or an amazingly persuasive prosecutor. I can't imagine how a jury could have convicted them based on the accounts described in this story. If they are indeed innocent, then justice demands that they be released immediately.

Annisuz said...

I wish I could do something to help but all I can do is pray and ask God to help. So yes, they will be in my prayers.

I just finished reading,"The Innocent Man" and was appalled at the circumstances and flimsy evidence that got Ron and Dennis convicted and I am equally appalled what I read about Tommy and Carl.

My heart goes out to all of those "Innocent Men" and their families. Unfortunately there are many and may God Bless all those working to right the wrongs.

Anonymous said...

It's TRAGIC that these two men could be destroyed by over zealous prosecution.

It's FRIGHTENING that, to this day, our justice system has not allowed for the correction of this error.

Is it egos, ignorance or both that perpetuate this tragedy?

Jared B. said...

I wish so much that I could help. I never knew Tommy, but I knew of him. I did know Jimmie Stohler, whose case is just as ridiculous. I feel empathy for your cousin, and wish I could help. Unfortunately, after the patriot act, one year was all that was given for appeals, and many inmates' appeals were already exhausted, or they couldn't find an attourney to assist. If there is something I could help on, I will. I knew personally through other people, Tommy is a good man.

GP said...

I am currently halfway through " The dreams of Ada". This is as chilling a tale of injustice and incompetence as Grisham's "The innocent man'. The similarities are clearly far from coincidence. Eternal shame on DA Peterson and the associated police and other investigators. Shame on the judges for their collective incompetent rulings. Shame on the juries in these cases. Shame on the many people of Ada who openly approved of convicting these innocent men.
Lives ruined because of community collusion. And all the while justice has not been served and the perpetrator remains undetected.
Tommy and Karl, and your families, have my utmost sympathy and belief in their innocence.
I hope one day they will have their cruel convictions overturned.
In particular self-promoting and arrogant Peterson should find some humilty and make it his remaining life's work to do some good and seek the the real truth here. However I fear the man is incapable of admitting his sloppy zealous ways.
I wish you all good fortune and soon. You really deserve it.

Anonymous said...

What about having a petition signed by thousands of Oklahomans sent to the Governor.(I'm sure there would be that many in the Ada area alone who would sign.) Doesn't he have the power to do something? Maybe someone should send him a copy of these great books that have convinced everyone else of the two men's innocence.

Anonymous said...

Like many on here, I found this website because I just finished reading The Innocent Man. The gross injustice throughout this story, not just to those wrongfully convicted but also to the victims' families who have had to endure every wrong turn, sickens me.

I wish the best for your family.

Anonymous said...

What can be done to bring more attention to Tommy's case? I lived in Ada for 6 yrs during this time. I believe in Tommy.