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Second “Innocent Man” Tommy Ward remains behind bars

Published: Jan. 7, 2021 at 10:36 PM CST
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ADA, Oklahoma (KXII) - An Ada man will stay in prison indefinitely, until a decision can be made on his freedom.

He was supposed to be released January 8, but the temporary stay requested by the Oklahoma State Attorney General back in December, was extended.

“Tommy Ward will be in prison indefinitely, until a decision is made with the Oklahoma Criminal court of appeals,” Ward’s Attorney Greg Swagert said.

60-year-old Thomas ‘Tommy’ Ward can be seen featured in the Netflix Documentary and John Grisham novel, “The Innocent Man.”

He has been in prison for over three decades when in December, a judge threw out his 1984 murder case, citing a false confession.

Ward was going to be home for the holidays, but Oklahoma Attorney Mike Hunter asked a judge for a temporary stay, holding him until Friday.

“I was disappointed during Christmas when he wasn’t coming home but for whatever reason, this time hurt a little bit more,” said Ward’s older brother Melvin. “I don’t know why, I guess it’s because you’re expecting something and it gets pulled out from the rug under you.”

Thursday January 7, just one day before the temporary stay would have expired, it was extended until February 16.

Ward’s Attorney Greg Swagert says it’s been heartbreaking to deliver the news to this family.

“They were hoping to have him home, he’s been prepped to go home multiple times now, so disappointment is the main thing” Swagert said.

Now, one of two things could happen next: Either it’s all up to the District Court of Appeals to make a decision, or the Attorney General.

“People just don’t believe that people can falsely confess. You think, I wouldn’t do that, why would somebody who’s innocent confess? Well, it happens, and it happened in Ad,” Swagert said.

“We’ll keep fighting. We’ll stay here in his corner, like we’ve done for the last 35 years and he’s got his family. We’re still going to be here,” Ward said.

As of now, Ward will stay in prison until at least February 16- That’s when the brief for the appeal that the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office plans to file is due.

News 12 reached out to his office, and his team replied with: “We aren’t commenting at this time.”

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