Oklahoma Innocence Project working to free imprisoned man

ADA, OK -- The Oklahoma Innocence Project is working on behalf of Karl Fontenot, who is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of Donna Denice Haraway in April 1984.

Fontenot was charged with the murder, robbery, and kidnapping Haraway after she disappeared from McAnally's convenience store in Ada.

The Oklahoma Innocence Project says they've found new evidence to support their case.

"The cause of death was different than what was mentioned in Karl's false confession," says Oklahoma City University School of Law Senior Director of University Communications, Sandy Pantlik. "He also had an alibi that was never investigated, and also new evidence proves that Ms. Harraway was actually being stalked in the weeks and months leading up to her disappearance."

Pantlik says the Innocent Project has been working on Fontenot's case since 2012, and over 800 pages of records were not turned over to the defense during the trials.

But Pontotoc County District Attorney, Chris Ross, who was one of the original prosecutors in the case, says that none of the recent evidence is actually new.

"All this stuff they're saying that she was shot in the head, her body was or wasn't burned, it wasn't where they said it was...well the jury heard all that so that wouldn't change the verdict because it didn't change it," Ross said. "The jury heard it at the time."

Ross still believes that Fontenot is guilty and says his confession was too specific to be inaccurate.

"They said 'Was she wearing tennis shoes,' and he says 'No...they were soft soled shoes but they weren't tennis shoes' and when they find the body, sure enough they're like these slip on kind of canvas shoes...well how did he know that...none of us did," Ross said.

The Innocence Project filed the brief and application in the Pontotoc County District Court, and the state now has less than a month to respond.

Ross says if the state responds, the next step is an evidentiary hearing.


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