Dennis Fritz (left) and Ron Williamson upon their release from an Oklahoma prison in 1999.
In 1988, Fritz and Williamson were convicted in separate trials based partially on microscopic hair comparisons, done as part of a scientific testing method which has since been largely discredited. Fritz and Williamson were also convicted based on testimony of witness Glen Gore, an informant who was later proved through DNA testing to be the real killer. Gore has since been convicted of the rape and murder of Carter.
If not for DNA evidence saved from the scene and later tested, Fritz might still be incarcerated for the rape and murder. Both he and Williamson were exonerated and released from an Oklahoma prison in 1999 based on the results of DNA testing. Fritz was incarcerated from 1988 to 1999, during a large part of his daughter’s childhood — time he can never get back. “That makes his story even more tragic,” said Pilate, who helped Fritz seek financial compensation for his wrongful incarceration.
“Dennis not only had to live through the horror of prison, but he also missed out on watching his daughter grow up.”
“It made me feel like that if I had to go through this, there was some purpose,” said Fritz. In 2002, the City of Ada and the State of Oklahoma settled the lawsuits brought by Fritz and Williamson for significant amount, which cannot be disclosed because of a confidentiality agreement.
Fritz has remained active with the Innocence Movement in Kansas City, helping the Midwestern Innocence Project with fund-raising projects and keeping in touch with other local exonerees who are readjusting to society.
We need to make the appeals process easier for those inmates who can legitimately claim innocence through previously unavailable scientific evidence or testimony from witnesses who may not have been brought to the attention of the court during trial.”
Source Midwestern Innocence Project