Thomas Ward, a person convicted for homicide and featured in Netflix‘s true crime documentary The Harmless Man, is about to be launched after a choose vacated his sentence on Dec. 18.
Ward has been steadfast in sustaining his innocence for at the very least three many years in reference to the April 28, 1984, kidnapping and homicide of Donna Denice Haraway, 24, who disappeared whereas working at an area Oklahoma comfort retailer. He and his co-defendant Karl Fontenot had been convicted with no physical evidence tying them to the case based mostly on Ward’s confession which he alleges he was coerced to present by police. Attorneys for Ward additionally declare prosecutors suppressed exculpatory proof throughout his trial.
Renewed curiosity within the case was sparked following the 2006 launch of John Grisham’s solely non-fiction book The Harmless Man adopted by the Netflix documentary based mostly on the title 12 years later.
The court findings, as reviewed by EW, state, “materials proof withheld by the State as recognized herein creates an inexpensive chance the end result of the trial would have been completely different given the burden of proof required for a conviction.” Native police launched greater than 300 pages of police paperwork in 2019 after years of denying any existed, in keeping with courtroom paperwork. It was by means of that new proof the courtroom found “there have been issues with the credibility of the State’s witnesses and the existence of witnesses that raised severe doubts as to the accuracy of witnesses figuring out Ward because the responsible get together.”
“Breaking information: Choose orders Tommy launched and vacates his conviction,” a Twitter account for Ward’s authorized crew shared on Saturday. “That is new data, and we’re attempting to determine what this implies proper now. Extra to come back.”
A second tweet provides, “We have no idea when Tommy shall be launched, and we don’t know the way a doable enchantment will have an effect on this. We’re gathering extra data.”
We have no idea when Tommy shall be launched, and we don’t know the way a doable enchantment will have an effect on this. We’re gathering extra data
— Tommy Ward: The Harmless Man (@WardInnocentMan) December 19, 2020
Fontenot was launched from jail in 2019, and is pending a choice from the U.S. Court docket of Appeals relating to his destiny.
The Harmless Man is presently out there to stream through Netflix.
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