Ada police chief announces retirement

ADA, Okla. (KXII) - Ada Police Chief Mike Miller announced his retirement on Wednesday after testifying in federal court about three boxes of missing evidence related to the 1984 murder case of Donna Haraway.

The murder is one of two brought into question in the John Grisham novel and 2018 Netflix Docu-series "The Innocent Man".

Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot have been in prison more than 30 years serving a life sentence for the crime they say they did not commit.

The city says Fontenot's legal team requested if there was any new evidence from the case in 2017 but the city and the police department said there wasn't any.

Ward's legal team sent in a similar request in 2018 and the city said it had found some.

Lisa Bratcher, public information director for the city, said the police department had been in a two year process of cataloging evidence after it had moved to the new building in 2016.

"So the evidence found at the end of 2018 had been cataloged in and they were able to produce three boxes," Bratcher said.

However, the police department did not know how the evidence was overlooked.

Legal teams have since been able to get copies of the evidence.

"I think it's important for people to remember that most everybody on the police was not here in the early 80's and didn't have anything to do with the cases at that time," Bratcher said.

Ada Public Works director Carl Allen served as assistant police chief in the past and will take over in the interim.

"And he is aware that obviously, they have the communities best interest at heart and he really want to focus on that and bring everybody together," Bratcher said.

We reached out to the Oklahoma Innocence Project and Karl Fontenot's lawyers, but they did not want to comment on Miller's retirement or the ongoing case.

Miller also declined comment on his retirement or the federal case.

Miller has been with the Ada Police Department since 1981 and chief since 1996.