Ward & Fontenot

"It is an intriguing and horrifying story: the story of the dream that got Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot convicted. Karl and Tommy deserve attention and help. I encourage anyone with any information about this case to send it to their attorney. It is important to learn from this nightmare. It is also important that this nightmare somehow be unraveled."
-John Grisham

The Case

They were literally dreamed onto death row. And in spite of the fact that the dream has been proven false - and proven false again and again in multiple ways - Karl Fontenot and Tommy Ward remain in prison. Tommy Ward, for hours, told police he didn't kill Denice Haraway. He told them, however, that he had a dream about her. That was good enough for the Ada, Oklahoma police. And for the interrogators from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. It took them nine hours of questioning in a locked room for officers to extract the confession from Tommy. Karl, an impressionable street kid with no family and few friends, was easier to break. After only two hours the police had another confession, one suspiciously similar to Tommy's. Problem was that the confessions shared some of the same wrong information.

A major mistake was that both identified Odell Titsworth, a man who could not possibly have committed the acts, as the primary culprit in the abduction, rape and killing of Ms. Haraway. The police questioned Titsworth, realized he couldn't have done it, and let him go. Never mind that the police had no real evidence against Tommy and Karl, they remained in jail. There was no motive, no prior knowledge of the victim, no crime scene clues, such as fingerprints, blood, semen, hair, saliva, footprints. There was no crime scene. At the counter where Ms. Haraway had apparently talked to her abductor, the cigarette in the ashtray was thrown away and the counter was wiped clean. The site of the killing? At the time of the trial, there was no site of the killing. There was no body. Ms. Haraway had simply vanished. At the first trial, not a shred of physical evidence was presented. Yet, both Tommy and Karl were sent to death row. Four months after the trial, the confessions were proved erroneous in additional ways. The body was found.

Tommy's dream, the primary evidence against him, had placed the body at the west edge of Ada. The actual body was found in a remote area twenty-five miles east of town. The prosecution had told the jury, based on the dreams, that Tommy and Karl had killed the young woman with a knife and then burned the body.

It turned out that she had not been stabbed. She was, however, shot once in the head. That head wound had been described by neither Tommy nor Karl. Karl and Tommy were given new trials.

But they were both again convicted. They 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.

From wardandfontenot.com