Friday, December 10, 2004

Ronald Williamson: dead at 51

From today's New York Times:

Ronald Williamson, Freed From Death Row, Dies at 51

Ronald Keith Williamson, who left his small town in Oklahoma as a high school baseball star with hopes of a major league career but was later sent to death row and came within 5 days of execution for a murder he did not commit, died on Saturday at a nursing home near Tulsa. He was 51.

Mr. Williamson's early life appeared charmed. As a pitcher and catcher in Ada, he twice led his high school teams to the championship of a state where another native son, Mickey Mantle, enjoyed the status of near deity. The Oakland Athletics picked Mr. Williamson in the 2nd round of the 1971 amateur draft.

After 6 years in the minor leagues, Mr. Williamson saw his career end because of arm injuries. He returned to Oklahoma and worked at a sales job, but began to show signs of a mental illness that was eventually diagnosed as bipolar disorder.

In late 1982, a waitress, Debbie Sue Carter, 21, was found raped and killed in her apartment in Ada. The case remained open until 1987, when a woman who had been arrested for passing bad checks told the police that she had heard another prisoner discussing the killing. The man, she said, was Mr. Williamson, who had been in the jail for kiting checks.

Mr. Williamson was charged with the killing. So was a 2nd man, Dennis Fritz, a high school science teacher who had been one of Mr. Williamson's few friends when he returned to town after his baseball career. The evidence, the authorities said, consisted of 17 hairs that matched those of Mr. Williamson and Mr. Fritz, and the account provided by the woman who said she had heard Mr. Williamson confess. A 2nd jailhouse informer later stepped forward to buttress the case against Mr. Fritz.

Mr. Williamson and Mr. Fritz were tried separately and found guilty. Mr.
Fritz was sentenced to life in prison, and Mr. Williamson - who had not received his psychiatric medicines for months before the trial and shouted angrily at the prosecution witnesses - was sentenced to die.

Mr. Williamson later said the prison guards taunted him over an intercom about Ms. Carter's murder. In September 1994, when all of his state appeals had been exhausted, he was taken to the warden's office and told that he would be executed on Sept. 24. He recalled filling out a form that directed his body to be returned to his sister for burial.

A team of appellate lawyers, however, sought a writ of habeas corpus from Judge Frank H. Seay of Federal District Court, arguing that Mr. Williamson had not been competent to stand trial and that his lawyer had not effectively challenged the hair evidence or sought other suspects. Judge Seay granted a stay 5 days before Mr. Williamson was scheduled to die.

In 1998, lawyers from the Innocence Project at the Benjamin C. Cardozo School of Law in New York arranged DNA tests for Mr. Williamson and Mr. Fritz. They showed that neither man had been the source of the semen or hair collected from the victim's body. Another man, Glen D. Gore, has since been convicted of the killing and sentenced to die for it.

161 comments:

Anonymous said...

hello
i am a lawyer from trivandrum, india and came upon this ronald williamson story following a news item stating that john grisham will be making him and his tragedy, the topic of his new novel. personally i am also against death penalty, and am glad to see that some of u.s's premier lawyer novelists have started to voice their concerns against the same- [scott turow (ultimate punishment)]
narayan advnarayan@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

A small correction: Mr. Grisham's book is not a novel; it will be his first nonfiction book.

Anonymous said...

I am so grateful that Mr Grisham is doing this for Ron.I got to know Ron Williamson in his last days. Before the Lord took Ron home; Ron learned to trust people again. I was Ron's hospice aide. Jackie

Anonymous said...

Life is precious. I am pro-life and against the death penalty. To be otherwise is inconsistant and hypocritical. This is in essence what Jesus Christ was expressing in his teachings. I am glad that an author of John Grisham's prestige has tackled this issue. Hopefully it will have a significant impact such as the Clarence Darrow closing statement in the Loab-Leopold murder trial. To punish killing by killing is stooping to the level of the killers.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading John Grisham's non fiction story about Ronald Keith Williamson and Dennis Fritz. It is amazing that something like this happened. I am not an attorney or in law enforcement and could tell that these men were not guilty. It goes to show you how some small towns go about their own justice. I thank the lord that they were finally able to clear their names and hope that Ron is at peace in heaven and Dennis is at peace on earth.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading John Grisham's book which was, to say the least, riveting. It sickens me that the police offiers covering the case and DA Bill Peterson allowed such a travesty to occur. Their dirty politics and small town detective work were finally uncovered, but they never had the guts to admit their wrongdoing or apologize to Mr. Williamson and Mr. Fritz. Even after DNA proved that these two men could not have possibly committed the crime, Peterson still felt they were guilty - what a crock! It's too bad Ronnie Williamson could not receive the mental health care he so deserved, and it's too bad that Gary Rogers, Bill Peterson and anyone else involved in the investigation didn't get to do some "hard time" and experience the anguish that Ronnie and Dennis Fritz experienced. What a shame!

Anonymous said...

I just cannot believe that Bill Peterson continues to serve as DA in the small town of Ada. What are they people thinking for having re-elected him? What can he possibly think of himself? He does NOT deserve to be in office!

Anonymous said...

I say kudos to Judge Frank H. Seay for uncovering the injustice that occurred under the auspices of "good detective work"! And a huge thumbs down to the police work and officers, especially Gary Rogers, dumb DA Bill Peterson, and the gentleman who presented his "evidence" regarding the hair analysis "matching". Too bad these bad men are still employed!

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading The Innocent Man and found it to be one of the most disturbing books I've ever read. Although I am not so naive as to think these things still don't happen today, I do belive that the occurence is not as likely. Thank you Mr.Grisham for giving this tragic story new life.

lynda morris said...

I also just finished Grisham's book and was astonished at the incompetence of the police department. Either they were incompetent to carry forth a real investigation or too lazy. Maybe they intentionally railroaded Ron. At any rate I hope Ron's family finally has some peace and the awareness brought forward by this book mitigates future occurrences.

Anonymous said...

Annette and Renee, God Bless you both for loving and taking care of your brother thru good and bad. As to Bill Peterson, he wont be seeing Ronnie again where he will be going at the end of his life. Bill, you are an amazing piece of work... I hope you get yours...

Anonymous said...

I would just like to say the people of Ada get what they deserve for allowing the DA to still be apart of their courts. Shame on you for not taking Ron and his sisters in with open arms. I am also glad Peggy Stillwell finally has peace knowing the killer of her daughter is behind bars. It is a shame that the mother of the victim can see the truth but no one else in that town

mel goodman said...

This was his most amazing book to-date. These events happen far more than we realize and the following that John Grisham has will do wonders to make the general public far more aware. This was one book I could not put down until I finished. Great work

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable. I am halfway through the book and was dumbfounded enough to stop reading and look this up online. Thanks John. God bless you Ron and Dennis.

Anonymous said...

I am a white male now 51 years of age. I, after looking into this injustice, cannot believe we have not done more to prevent this! Shame on OK and people like Bill Peterson!

Anonymous said...

i just finished the book ''an innocent man''.i would like to thank mr. grisham for the courage to write this book. it should be a must read for all judges and states attorneys.i am a 57 year old man and i can say this is the first book to ever make me cry. ron,i know you are in heaven because you were in hell on earth .

Anonymous said...

I have just finished reading the book, the innocent man, and i have to say it made me very anrgy at the cops, town, and the justice system. To think that in this time 2 innocent men were convicted on circumstancal evidence and didnt get the rights they deserved, just becase the cops ect thought they were quilty. It shocking

Anonymous said...

I have not had a chance to read the book an innocent man' but some years ago I read a book calles Dreams of Ada that raises some of the same issues in this story. Its about two young men accused of Murder in Ada and are were convicted and received the death sentance, which has since been overturned to LWOP.

john said...

This Story of Ron Williamson is a tragic story that reveals the problems within the Court System. It challenges Us to find way to fix the systems and insure that this type of offense is not repeated. But it should not lead us to wish to abolish the death penalty. I think a realistic approach is to reform the death sentence laws, when a person has either admitted to a violent premeditated murder and they are mentally compentent to do so, and the evidence is clear, that person need to die. The death penalty Shows society how much we value life be requiring the life of the murderer, not by letting them continue to live out an existence in the prison system. This case reveals the need to reform, not eradicate the death penalty process. Try to use critical thinking skills people!

Anonymous said...

I am also in the middle of Grishams book, and am just facinated and disturbed on some level about the waste of a life,of Mr. Williamson. It is unfortunate that his fame came from a bloched murder arrest and trial, instead of a promising baseball career. The other sad part is, life is hard enough at times, but for all these families involved in this most unfortunate murder, how excrutiating it must have been to not only go through these trials, but not to be able to enjoy the fruits of life, all because the powers that be could not be realistic, and I blame only the Judge, it's his court room.MAK

Anonymous said...

I am a CSI student that is doing a papre on how DNA can be used to exonerate innocent men/women. It was quite by chance that at the same time I was doing this my mother bought me "The Innocent Man." This story has touched my heart and given me even more motivation to find closure for families of victims, yet make sure that innocent citizens are not wrongly convicted.

Anonymous said...

I just listened to this book as an audiobook that someone gave me. I listen to a lot of audiobooks since I have a long commute to work and have liked a lot of the John Grisham novels I have listened to.
I was distracted while the preface was playing and didn't realize that it was a true story until after it had finished. While listening I found it a rivetting story but found the ineptitude of the police a bit unbelievable, and the incompetance of the judicial system as a whole a bit far fetched.
I could not believe it was actually a true story, so I searcged the internet and found this site. Over the years I have gone from being 'pro death sentence' to 'don't know' to 'slightly anti death sentence' - I am definately slightly VERY anti death penalty now.

Anonymous said...

I was half way through the book "The Innocent Man" before I learned it was a true story. I did find it very unrealistic and was having a hard time reading because I just wanted the cops and dumbass (Bill Peterson) to come to their senses. When my husband learned that the book was about Ron Williamson, he informed me that it was all true. I have since started the book over again. I pray that everybody involved with "the investigation and prosecution" have to deal with even a fraction of what the Williamsons endured at some point in their sorry lives!!!!

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading "The Innocent Man" about 15 minutes ago and promptly investigated on the web. I was shocked, outraged and terrified to learn the details of this true account. My prayers are with Ron's family, the Fritz family and all others wrongfully imprisioned. Bill Peterson and the police force in the city of Ada make me sick, and I question how such a dispicable man can be in office

Anonymous said...

i just finished the book and i'm also shocked that the same people who robbed ron of his freedom are still at it. i have to say that i have great respect for his sisters who were at his side know matter what happened. it's a shame this could happen in this country and i'm passing this book on to a friend who thinks the death penalty is the best way of punishment.

Anonymous said...

i just finished reading the innocent man written by john grisham and really made me go into thid web since it really disturbed me. how can the town of ada even tolerate having mr peterson still in there. this deserves cleaning out the system and God only knows how many more victims were wrongly accused. My heart goes to the families of these peopls wrongly accused. Of course the carter family too.

Anonymous said...

Another person that has completed reading John Grisham's book and deeply stirred that such faulty processes can take place and condemn innocent people. I was outraged that Peterson can continue to practice law! I truly hope that people of his kind see themselves for who they really are...you always reap what you sow.

bokanimlibokani said...

i have been shocked beyond belief after reading john grisham's latest book.was amazed by the love and support annette and renee gave their late brother ronald williamson.thanks to the good work done by all those who helped free this innocent man and his friend dennis fritz. the usa should seriously consider getting rid of the death penalty.

Anonymous said...

i would love to see bill peterson as well as gary rogers locked away for the rest of their sad pitiful, heartless, and bigoted lives...as well as the rest of the prejudical losers smalltown america applauds every day. What useless existences and meaningless lives... there's reasons you don't stop in towns like Aida Oklahoma in every state in this country.
-G

Anonymous said...

i would love to see bill peterson as well as gary rogers locked away for the rest of their sad pitiful, heartless, and bigoted lives...as well as the rest of the prejudical losers smalltown america applauds every day. What useless existences and meaningless lives... there's reasons you don't stop in towns like Aida Oklahoma in every state in this country.
-G

Joyce Vasu said...

I finished Grisham's book last night, and thereafter sat there..stunned and aching at the unbearable suffering Ron went through. His sisters, especially Annette, are truly remarkable people. What is staggering is that after settling a case out of court for the multitude of wrongdoings, Bill Petersen is still DA of Ada. Someone who's displayed an astounding inability to distinguish right from wrong, is being paid to do just that! What would it take for the people of Ada to sit up and say enough is enough? By the way, are Bill and the pastor from Annette's Pentecostal church related? They display the same holier than thou, righteous and malfunctioning consciences.

Anonymous said...

I just listened to this book on CD while on a road trip. It made me sick. It's difficult to believe that anyone still believed Williamson and Fritz guilty after they were proven innocent beyond any doubt. It just goes to show how closed-minded and stupid some people can be. And to think that I thought living in a small town in mid-America would be a dream come true. No thanks! Nightmares abound. It took an incompent judge, a dishonest D.A., a corrupt police force and a nightmare of a defense lawyer to carry out this injustice, and some of them are still in office! Congrats, people of Ada, what a town!

Anonymous said...

Grisham's book is the last piece of evidence that I need to conclude that our legal system is in a shambles. How could OJ go free while Ron and Dennis are convicted and nearly put to death? Greedy, egotistical scum-bags masquerading as attorneys like Peterson NEVER care about the truth, only in advancing their own names and stroking their egos. Peterson, the "investigation team" (I use that term loosely) and their ilk around the country deserve to spend the rest of THEIR lives on death row - it may be the only way to save our legal system. I'm not against the death penalty per se, but given the state of the legal system, I could never put a defendant to death if I were on a jury.

Anonymous said...

I have just finished reading Jon Grisham's book and did some research on the innocence project. It is amazing to me that so many innocent people were on death row, some even executed because of a shoddy investigation. The value of life has no meaning.Ron Williamson led a tragic life, he did things which were wrong but he sure did not deserve to be ondeath row for 11 years.And the fact that there was not even one apology to him or Dennis Fritz, shakes your belief in humanity.

Anonymous said...

I have just finished John Grisham's book as well, and all I can say is - why doesn't he go down to Baldwin County, Georgia, (Milledgeville, in particular) and do a little research on the corrupt DA's office there. There is an inordinate number of capital cases coming out of Baldwin County, and I do hope that someone who is reading this will look into the "convictions" led by that District Attorney!

Anonymous said...

Hello, I just read the book of Grisham in a dutch translation. It's a incredable story and I got another point of view of the USA.

Anonymous said...

i just finished reading "the innocent man" today, after waiting months to get my hands on it. i am a great fan of john grisham. i have read all his books, but none is as captivating as this(his first non-fiction). its really sad to know that people like DA bill peterson would intentionally send innocent people to death row when there are evidences proving they did not commit the crime. he is a shame to the justice system, and he should spend time in jail to experience what it feels like. i am totally flabbagasted to learn that bill peterson is still the DA. people in ADA are in serious trouble if such a wicked man is the didtrict attorney. ron went through hell during his life, but i am glad that he is in a better place. Gob bless his sisters and the carter family. john grisham, YOU ARE MY HERO!!!

Anonymous said...

Like countless others, for the life of me I cannot understand the people of Ada re-electing Mr. Peterson. Something else that comes to mind is the contrast between the law enforcers in Ada and the family of Ron Williamson. His sisters are people to emulate. On the other hand Mr. Peterson should be totally ashamed of himself and may he have many sleepless nights in the future

Anonymous said...

I read The Innocent Man with an ever-growing feeling of outrage. The really sick part of the whole fiasco is that it was not the result of incompetence. It would appear that Glen Gore had some sort of drug-dealing relationship with the Ada police department, and he was intentionally not pursued, while Mr. Williamson and Mr. Fritz were intentionally framed. Peterson, Smith, and Rogers are without a doubt the world's biggest scumbags, and Peterson is almost certainly a bigger scumbag and criminal than anyone he ever put away. He is a disgrace to the legal profession, and to the human race. It is incomprehensible that the State of Oklahoma has allowed him to keep his license to practice law. I guess that speaks volumes about the State of Oklahoma. And this scumbag has the nerve to continue to walk into courtrooms and point his finger at people. What a piece of filth he is.

Anonymous said...

Like many others, I have just finished reading The Innocent Man. It is so hard to believe something like this could ever happen. I think that it is important to remember that this tragic happening could have taken place anywhere in the world, it is NOT isolated to America. We, as jurors, must always look for that "shadow of a doubt" before we become so sure that a person is guilty; we take on that responsibility when we are chosen as jurors. The jurors on the Williamson and Fritz cases didn't see the shadow because it was washed out by the black cloud!

Anonymous said...

I as well have just finished "The Innocent Man" and was deeply appauled. This crime happened in the US just 25 years ago, not 250 years ago. It amazes me that this type of small town law still exists. DA Bill Peterson should have left Ada with his tail between his legs. Its very upsetting that Mr. Williamson was never given an apology from anyone involved in Ada government. God bless you Mr. Williamson and RIP! As for Mr. Peterson I hope You rot in Hell!

Anonymous said...

I guess I am a little behind the times. I just completed Grisham's book and, I too, found it very disturbing. While it was disturbing, it is also very true. I too am an individual near such circumstances. I grew up in a small Texas Guld Coast town where I was in the top of my graduating class and then went one to College, married a beautiful little sorority girl at UT and enjoyed a great career until I began to suffer the effects of Bi-Polar disorder. I fell into an extremely short lived [thank God] experience with drugs [tried to illegally purchse enough to kill myself], was slammed into state rehab, lost my wife and my career, etc., etc. And, then, because of my short drug career have been convicted of many other offenses. I can definitely relate to this story. As a matter of fact, Mr. Grisham, I have been told, by a local news person, that some smart author would be wise to write my story!

Anonymous said...

I have always been an advocate of the death penalty...until now! I have been listening to Grisham's Innocent Man story on Audio while commuting. From the very beginning of the story I have been horribly upset and the waste of such a promising person's life. I have read so many stories on Man's inhumanity to Man over the years, but this one touched me sorely for some reason, perhaps because it happened to a contemporary rather than a historial person. ie. Kunta Kinte of Roots fame. To believe that this could happen, not only to Ron and Dennis, but also to those 2 other poor souls (sorry don't have their names handy right now) who were wrongly convicted of the murder of the convenience store girl by the same idiotic, bigoted cretins serving Ada as investigators, prosecutors, "expert" witnesses, and other law enforcement personnel makes me sick. I have spent many hours fuming, and I could not wait to even finish the book to go online and find out what happened to Ron and Dennis. I am so releived that some justice has been forthcoming to them. My heart aches for Ron's family, and his sisters are wonderful women. I commend them for their unfailing care and belief in their brother. God Bless them and keep them for showing true love and kindness..for not just "talking the talk, but walking the walk" in their religious beliefs. And shame to all those in Ada who fell in with the lies of of the very people who are supposed to be protecting them. People, have a mind of your own. How could you have re-elected Peterson is beyond my comprehension. Pray he never casts his eye on you as guilt of anything. Thanks to all of you who posted on this website. I will be able to sleep better now, knowing I am in good company of all of you who were also outraged by the injustice of this story. I know if I am ever on another jury, I will give it my all to make certain there is no reasonable doubt in a case like this.

Anonymous said...

While reading "An Innocent Man", I kept referring back to the photo of Ron when he was a teenager full of hopes, dreams, and potential. How tragic that Bill Peterson, a pompous, calculating, small-town criminal DA, stole Ron's sanity and life from him . . . and for what? Another notch on his belt full of false convictions? This DA is a complete disgrace, and I can't fathom why he is still in office. Are the people in Ada completely naive, or is he somehow intimidating or threatening them into keeping him in office? Nothing he does would surprise me after reading this book.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading the book, and immediately went online for more information. As a native Oklahoman, now living in Texas, I am extremely embarrassed that this tragedy happened in my home state. People in Ada need to get some gumption, and vote Peterson out of office (he should actually be disbarred). Bless Annette and Renee for sticking by their brother. I hope Mr. Fritz has a long and rewarding life.

Anonymous said...

Again I just finished reading the Innocent Man. Unbelievable! One of the first times I actually closed a book and spent some time working out my own feelings about what I just read. Upseting is mild. My heart goes out to Ron, his family and their innocent friends.

Anonymous said...

I have just finished reading The innocent man by John Grisham. I was a bit dubious about his first non fiction book.I could not put it down. It sickens me to think that all those people who suffered through the exteme incompetency of Peterson and the police of Ada. My heart goes out to the friends and families of ron and dennis.Also to the carter family for the years it took. From the first few chapters it was obvious who did it.I was disgusted with the legal system.

Henryhotdogg said...

Hi I am in the middle of reading Grisham's book and have worked through a lot of the comments on this site...how do low-life forms like DA Bill Peterson and co...get away with covering themselves and protecting drugdealing murderous people like Glen Gore.....to me they are more guilty than Gore himself....what can be done to ensure they face the music they deserve and protect other innocents from the likes of them????

Herman Mensing said...

After waiting over two months on my local library's wait list, I finally got and have just finished reading John Grisham's "The Innocent Man." I have read all the comments on this site, and pretty much agree with them all. As a Christian, one of the things that really troubled me, and one that I did not see anyone else mention, was the rejection of Ron Williamson, AFTER he was cleared of all charges, by his church (reference was made to a Pentecostal church in Ada), starting right at the top of the congregation, --- with the pastor! Unbelievable. That pastor is right up there, along with Bill Peterson and the rest of the people who wrongly condemned Williamson. He was "called" to become a minister, to uphold the downtrodden, the poor, those who need compassion, --- just as Christ was "called" to become a human, and upheld the downtrodden and the poor, and yes, even those who did wrong --- and Ron Williamson had done no wrong, in relation to what he was imprisoned for. Shame on that pastor and on that congregation. They have some serious soul-searching to do, if they haven't yet done that. I pray they have asked for forgiveness from the Williamson family, --- and from God.

Anonymous said...

There is a Death Pentaly case right now in going on in Bakersfield, California. The case name is The State of California v. Vincent Brothers After reading The Innocent Man I see that our D.A. and the Police are trying to do the same thing to this man. At the time of the murder of this man's family is the husband and father to the people killed he was in the state of Ohio. The DA is saying that he drove 2500 miles plus miles to California killed his family then drove 2500 plus miles back to Ohio in less then 28 hours. This was on the July 4th weekend of 2003. He had to go through 9 states without getting stopped. That hard for a Black man driving alone at a speed of at least 95mph to do.

I hope that the people of Bakersfield will listen to all the evidents in this case before doing to Vincent Brothers what they did to Mr. Williamson and Mr. Fritz.

I find it so sad that DA's and the police would have done what they did to these guys and to others just so that they can say they got the "CONVICTION"

When asked the DA Lisa Green stated that " I don't know how he did it but he did it".

God Help Us

Anonymous said...

I to just finished reading John Grisham's book and can say it was quite disturbing to say the least. I can't beleive Bill Pererson is still practicing law in Ada and the other moron's are still part of the police force, they all should be hung!! God bless Ron's sisters for supporting him all these years for the living hell is went through. And thank god for all the people who stepped up and made a wrong a right. May Ron finally rest in peace and Dennis enjoy the rest of his life. As for all the incompedent morons that put Ron and Dennis through years of torture may they rot in HELL!!!

Anonymous said...

I just finished "The Innocent Man" and am deeply disturbed about the miscarriage of justice that occurred. I would love for Bill O'Reilly to take a look at Bill Peterson, District Attorney in Ada, OK, and for him to follow EVERYTHING that Peterson does in Ada. Maybe then enough pressure would be applied that he would not be re-elected or would be forced to resign. It reminds me of Nifong and what he has done to the Duke Lacrosse guys. These self-serving SOBs should be put away forever.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for making An Innocent Man on audio. I have AHDH and cannot read but I have a photographic memory with audio or video. This book was hard to endure because of the abusive treatment over and over to innocent men. To add insult to injury, those that mistreated are still doing so. Amazing.

Lianne Josemanders said...

Hi,
I read the book and have just finished it 5 minutes ago. The only thing I could say was; Wow.. WHAT a story, unbeleavable..
I what to thank Mr. Grisham for writing this book and bring this story to the world.
It made an unforgettable inpression at me.
Lianne Josemanders, The Netherlands

Paulette said...

I stayed up late last night and finished the "The Innocent Man".

I was saddened by the injustice to Ron Williamson and disappointed at the system. I hope the people behind his unjust conviction get their karma.

Congratulations to John Grisham for a well-written book.

God bless Annette, Renee, Judge Seay, Ron's Legal Team.

Thank you to the doctors who believed Ron needed help and tried to make him better.

My prayers to Juanita, Roy and Ron.

Anonymous said...

Another reader who just finished Grisham's book. Hats off to a guy who does have the guts to write about the huge issues within our penal system. No appologies from the guilty parties involved...SAD! Stand up and admit your faults and remove yourself from that area of expertise if you are not capable to do the job you were suppose to! Awesome job by the heros who stepped in when they did to finally uncover the truth!

Anonymous said...

A full time mother, worker and student, I found time to read this book "The Innocent Man" written by John Grisham. It took me half the book to realize it was all so true.

How could our judicial system be so lazy and dishonest? We as citizens depend on our system to proctect and to be honest at all times.

My heart fell so many times reading this book. Day after day of reading this book, I became emotionally sick for Ron, Dennis, Ward and Fontenot. We all know who is guilty of both murders. I just wish we could have a clean system that not only protects us, but put away those who only honestly deserves it. I am against the death penalty and DO NOT wish death on anyone.

My hats are off to Renee, Annette, Judge Seay, all of Ron's legal help and his entire family. You all are hero's in my book.

With a old saying in mind "what goes around comes around".

To Annette and Renee, the bible says: " Let No Weapon Formed Against Me Prosper".

Anonymous said...

i have not bought the book. Do you think i should buy it

Anonymous said...

I am almost at the end of the book. I keep interrupting the reading now and then because it makes me feel mad, sad and frustrated. I had to stop reading it and come to the Internet to make sure this was all true. All I can say is that my feelings are similar to most of the comments made by other readers. I can't conceive that this person(s) and his/their families went through so much. It was and it continues to be very frustrating to read about the incompetency of all the officers, attorney, DA and judges involved in this tragedy. My sentiments go for the families of these victims. This is a great reading... as always his books are.

Anonymous said...

Hello!
I just read the german translation of grisham´s book and now i follow some discussions i have found in the internet. I, a european who is far away from U.S death penalty discussion, have found one sentence in this blog which i can´t understand: "..The death penalty Shows society how much we value life be requiring the life of the murderer, not by letting them continue to live out an existence in the prison system.."
In full consequence this has the meaning to me that Bill Peterson has to die if Ron Willamson where killed innocent.
How ill are we?

Phil Taylor said...

I have just finnished the John Grisham novel and was absolutely amazed by the case and also the cases against Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot. What I found harrowing was the dates refrenced, I am 42 and all the time I was growing up through my twenties and thirties these men were in prison.
I was so shocked by the prosecution that I have joined Amnesty International, I am a British ex servicemen and not easily shocked but the thought of being convicted simply because you have a few beers in the wrong place and the police are desperate is scary. Ada is not on my wishlist of places to visit.

Anonymous said...

Hola soy un abogado de Argentina y realmente es conmovedora la historia relatada por el colega grisham que una vez más demuestra las falencias de la pena capital aún en las sociedades más desarrolladas. Las carencias del sistema nos empujan a condenar personas inocentes a tal punto de convertirnos en homicidas. Tengo la esperanza que el libro sea una reflexión a los jurados y legisladores...

Anonymous said...

I just finished The Innocent Man and as a Law Enforcement Officer it makes me ashame that there are officers like there are in Ada and a DA like Peterson still in office. I hope a movie comes from this book and that it is made as well as the book was written.

Schrag said...

I am currently reading Grisham's the Innocent Man. Obviously justice was served, belatedly, in this case. It was obvious bias, incompetance that got the wrong men convicted, However it shouldn't negate the idea of the death penealty in certain cases. I guarantee there have been more people killed by murders after their conviction and incareration, than have been wrongly put to death. Also there are some crimes were the only justice would be to end the life of a person who took another (examples: sadistic serial murders and a person who abuses/murders children). I think there just needs to be standards of conviction, eveidence and appeals so there aren't people who are wrong put to death. Which, even in this case clearly worked. But to take the death penalty out of play completely, is not just in my opinion. Btw, I also am pro-life/anti-abortion and find no moral inconsistencies with my position on both issues. In fact it's flawed to compare the life of an innocent child with that of a convicted killer.

Schrag

renee said...

I am looking for a professional opinion regarding the psychology behind the people of Ada OK at the time of this travesty. Also, how could they still have and support the prosecutors. Creepy, and reminds me of a Hitler type phenomenon.

Anonymous said...

After reading this book, I cannot imagine the number of innocent people, we as Americans, have wrongfully executed or imprisoned since the start of this Nation of ours. Ronald Williamson's story reminds me of another story many years ago when one elected offical, a Senator from the State of Wisconsin ruined many lives with outright lies. We as Americans must not let this happen and defend the Constitution, in particular the first ten Amendments, to our utmost!

Anonymous said...

I am a death penalty supporter. Or at least, I was until I read Grisham's book. What a travesty!! The DA and police in Ada, Oklahoma are "scum of the earth". This man had enough problems without the "trumped up" charges against him.

Anonymous said...

Like others I am amazed that Peterson is still the DA in Ada. I grew up in Oklahoma and was there when this was going on. What was done to Ron and the others in the book is beyond belief. I'm going to try to find a copy of "Dreams of Ada". Dream confessions... amazing!

Anonymous said...

I just finished "The Innocent Man". Bill Peterson is a sorry excuse for a human being. He and Rodgers and all their other inept, lazy back-water cronies deserve to die a slow and agonizing death. Just like Ronnie did. To think that this scumbag (Peterson) is still the DA in Ada is appalling.

Anonymous said...

Just finished "The Innocent Man" I think every case Bill Peterson prosecuted should be reviewed.

Anonymous said...

I just finished the book, The Innocent Man. It saddens me to the core, that these men were put through this, because of peterson and his people. I do believe you must ask for forgivness from the men and families that you did wrong, before you can ask forgivness from God. I pray that God showes you mercy and saves your souls..

Anonymous said...

Like so many others, I am disgusted by what happened to Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz. I live in Oklahoma and was actually friends with Dennis Fritz's daughter growing up together and through high school, I never really knew what happened to her father though, she never really talked about it, now that I know what happened, it really hits close to home. It truly can happen to anyone, and then to think that Bill Peterson is still DA and still has a license to practice law is sickening. Also, Ward and Fontenont are obviously innocent, and are still in prison! Something needs to be done to help them.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading John Grisham's "The Innocent Man". I truly wonder if in this country you are "Innocent until proven Guilty". I have had problems with prosecutors and the Department of Human Services who benefitted from their lies against my 8 year old child and family. My son was a happy, well adjusted 4 year old when he was taken from us. Now he is an unhappy, disallusioned little boy. the county has stolen my child's identity, his self-worth, his family but most of all his childhood. Even though my case was not a "death penalty" case. When all is said & done, the loss of a child no matter the cirmcumstances is "death" to a mother's heart.

I too am appalled at Ada & it's community. To consciensely and intentionially prosecute & send 4 innocent souls to death or life imprisonment when you know someone else is resposible is unconscieneable. And to keep these same people in office after this is shown...Ada contends to be a religious place. God have mercy on all of the town's souls.

I want to also applaud all of Judge Seay's people. Especially Jim Payne. Who if he hadn't read the appeal on his own time might not have personally gone to the Judge to request a stay & complete a more thorough look at all the "evidence" against Ron Williamson. That he came within 5 days of being excuted and having to fill out a form to have his body shipped back to his sister & his sister recieving these letters to inform her of her brother's impending execution dates, I believe was a kind of torture itself, on not only Ron, but his family.

One final note, I hope that Ron has finally found the peace in heaven that he should have got on earth. Thank you Annette for being there for your brother no matter what. Your selfless love has not gone unnoticed. I hope you & your family will at last find the peace & happiness you deservre in this lifetime.

Barbara's Journey Toward Justice said...

My Blog is about this case in memory of Ron Williamson and The Other Innocent Man Dennis Fritz.
Dennis Fritz will be appearing on Hannity and Colmes Fox News Feb.21, 2007 Wed.
Dennis Fritz is the Author of Journey Toward Justice.
Praise For Journey Toward Justice by John Grisham:
"Journey Toward Justice" by: Dennis Fritz - The story of the unwarranted prosecution and wrongful conviction of Dennis Fritz is compelling and fascinating. After serving eleven years for a murder he did not commit, Dennis was exonerated and had the strength and courage to put his life back together.- John Grisham
- - Please watch this show and read his book Journey Toward Justice Amazing Story now on Amazon
Please visit me at
My Blog - http://barbarasblogspot.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading The Innocent Man. It is not just another nonfiction book that people try to sell these days.. its a moving experience recounted by Mr. Grisham, the torturous ordeal that 2 men had to suffer just because the law was not properly defined. Ada should be ashamed of itself for playing a silent role. Also on re-electing Bill Peterson, who continues to serve as DA in Ada!
You're not worthy of seeing your face even in a mirror!
Annette & Renee: GOD BLESS YOU, am sure your folks up there are proud of you.

Anonymous said...

just finished reading Innocent man and am really shocked as to how people who are supposed to be protecting the community can do so wrong...people doing this should be punished so that they cannot mess up another innocent person's life...just wanted to add that ron was really lucky to have a family like annette and renne who were with him till the end...

Bacon said...

Books like Grisham's "The Innocent Man" need to be written. As long as we have law enforcement, judicial and penal systems that have and operate out of prejudice, error and downright incompetence, we cannot morally support a system that could potentially and actually does sentence innocent people to death (not to mention the horrific years leading up to death). I applaud Grisham for answering the political, social, spiritual and moral obligation to bring this injustice to light. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I am against the death penalty in circumstantial cases but not otherwise against the death penalty and I believe that the lawyers and law enforcement that perpetrate such an injustice deserve nothing less that the death penalty. We need to be responsible for our actions.

Anonymous said...

I just finished John Grisham's book and Ron's life was very sad and underserving. I feel Ron's story serves a purpose for those that are wrongfully convicted. I strongly believe in the death penalty but I also strongly believe that the system should be rightful and fair to the utmost. In the book, Ron made a statement that if he had to do it over again, he would not be born. That is heartbreaking and a strong statement for someone who spent over half his life in misery. I believe God chose Ron to get this message out about wrongful convictions on death row. I don't think there is another man on earth that could or would endure the torture Ron faced and survive as long as Ron did. Ron felt he should not be born. God chose him to get the message out.

Anonymous said...

Living in south africa has allowed the myth of perverted justice in small town america develop through the medium of fictional characters.
Ron's story however has turned that myth into horrifying reality.
My wife suffers bipolar disorder and it would be a simple leap of the imagination to see how someone with a severe mental illness could serve the needs of the evil individuals such as Bill Peterson.
Kudos to John Grisham and everyone who stuck by Ron and Dennis

Anonymous said...

After reading the novel I agree with all the other comments before mine. Shouldn't all of bill peterson's cases should be re-evaluated? This corrupt man has destroyed many innocent lives - how many more? Also, isn't it interesting that the CHURCH turned its back on the family after Ron was free? It certainly was willing to take Annette's money all the years Ron was in jail, but as soon as he was out - nothing. Where is the CHURCH's support? This is so indicative of our religious society. We need to realize that the church represents greed also. This is the reason organized religion has gone downhill in this country. Poor Ron. My heart goes out to him and Dennis and Tommy F., etc....

Anonymous said...

This is truly an insightful book into the injustice our legal system can inflict upon you after you have been convicted. The poor police work and DA who would use anything, including fabricating palm print evidence, to convict two innocent men. It is rather sad that even after these two men were released that they did not receive an apology. It takes a strong person to admit whatever mistakes they have made and this DA still talked of prosecuting Williamson and Fritz, even after the DNA proved they did not commit the rape or murder, and Glen Gore's DNA was proven to be left at the scene. The DA should have been disbarred for his actions. It is also important to note the mistreatment Ron endured, when everyone who came into contact with him while he was on death row, should have known he was mentally ill and desperately in need of medical attention. This was an excellent work of non-fiction and kudos to the lawyers and Judge Seay who were able to see the wrong in this case and make it right!

Anonymous said...

as many others I just finished the german translation of John Grisham's book. I'm a fan of all the american justice-series in TV like CSI, Law&Order,Criminal Mind etc. These series suggest, that the cops, lawyers etc. work all correct and do everthing to the innocent... OK, I have to change my mind and my view... Thanks to John Grisham to let the world know... Ron, Dennis, Annette, Renee and all the other unknown innocents I hope you find your peace.

Anonymous said...

I can't even refer to Peterson as Mr. You should be stripped of all rights to ever practice law again you crooked jerk! I only hope that one day you and all your cohorts in Ada get what's coming to you. How do any of you look at yourselves in the mirror or go to sleep at night knowing all the lives you ruined. You took Ron Williamson's life from him at an early age - you need to be indicted and tried for murder and sent to death row where you belong. I've been through our court system in a divorce and I know first hand that nobody is in pursuit of the truth - it's all about who can give the best show. Our legal system disgusts me - it needs a complete overhaul. And it's all because of lawyers like you.

Anonymous said...

This book has again brought out what is to be a lesson to be learnt. "Presumed innocences until proven guilty". Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz were always presumed guilty. It also goes to show how shallow we humans can be by judging someone and accusing them because of their appearance, demeanour and background. I'm still in the middle of reading Mr John Grishams book and applaude him for bring into the mainstream the attention this subject deserves.

More importantly than the death penalty is the training and selection of those in authority and their skills in being able to provide a service with fairness, honesty and competency.

Throughtout the novel, I was disgusted at Gary Rogers, Dennis Smith and Bill Peterson for trying to frame two innocent people just so they can look competent.

Anonymous said...

if anyone wants to hear anymore BS from bill peterson you can see what he's written to try to defend himself. It's very funny to hear how mr grishams book is full of lies and how he, peterson, did nothing wrong. Yet peterson still has not apolized for his mistake and for still keeping ron & dennis as suspects. If he was so right why did so many other find him wrong. And as far as the people of ada, they seem to have a very good "good ol boy" system going on in the town. Of course they wil keep someone like peterson there when most of the people there don't want to change and open their eyes to what is really going on in the state/world. They are so closed minded that not even this will change their minds. So very sad!!

Anonymous said...

hola
supongo que les sera dificil entender lo que yo estoy escribiendo pero igual les quiero dejar mi opinion. He leido el libro de John Grisham "el inocente", me emocione mucho con la historia de Ron. Lamentablemente, gente como la policia de Oklahoma hay en todo el mundo, creo que ellos serian la clase de persona que se merecen la maldita silla electrica o la maldita inyeccion letal, pero como estoy totalmente en contra de la puta pena de muerte, simplemente que se mueran como dios manda y se vayan al infierno.
Sinceramente nunca supe de la historia de Ron hasta que lei el libro. Pero, desde el Barrio Don Orione, Argentina, quiero que todo el mundo sepa que aca se vive mal en cuanto a la inseguridad de todos los dias, pero no por eso se mata a la gente con penas de muerte idiotas, simplemente que asesinos y ladrones se pudran en las carceles es nuestro deseo.
Les escribe atentamente y en contra de la pena de muerte una persona humilde.
Cote es mi nombre y mi direccion de correo es cotelfc@hotmail.com
desde Argentina, Sudamerica para todo el mudo Abolish the Death Penalty!!!!!!!!!!!!
chau, bye

Rachel Miller said...

i read the john grisham book and it brought me to tears. It made me so sick the way the case was handled. How dare the Ada ploce officers dig up Debbies body to prove evidence they knew was wrong. what is wrong with them? I feel so badly for Ron and Denis and i wsih the best to Denis and his family. Rons sisters are amazing people and may only good come to them.

Anonymous said...

Hello,
I just finished reading Grisham's book and quickly logged to check more details on Ron/Dennis. I have read every single book of Grisham and I am extremely moved with this piece of work of non fiction. I do think, he should bring of more "true" court room dramas to the world for us to see what is actually happening there.
I am really shocked that a small town, Ada with such little population could not do justice to Ron / Dennis. Least when they were exonerated with the help of Justice Seay, Bill, Kim, Mark, Sara and others, the State didn't even Apologise to the agony they put these two men to. Could they give them back their 11 years of life? Could Dennis's daughter get her father when she needed during her growing years? Could Ron get back his mental stability? Could Annette and Renee get their terrible lives to support then? I truly admire the spouses of Annette and Renee to have supported them thru their ordeal. The book does surely mention of many people, but there are others too who have played their role.
May Ron's soul rest in peace. May God shower all His blessing on Dennis's family. May God bring more people like Justice Seay, Mark, Sara, Kim to be able to bring justice.
Congrats Mr. Grisham and we do look forward to more works like these.

With sincere regards to one and all in Ron & Dennis's family.
Anita

R Turner, Qld Australia said...

After reading the book, one wonders why Bill Peterson has not been held accountable for his lack of ethics and integrity. Something must be done about this man. He has no honour or competence to be an officer of the court. Shame on him. He does not deserve the title "Mr" or "district attorney". Ron forgave all those that hurt him, including you. Do you have the same honour? God will judge you in his time.

Anonymous said...

I HAVE JUST FINISHED READING JOHN GRISHAM'S BOOK THE INNOCENT MAN AND I CANNOT BELIEVE WHAT I HAVE READ. AT TIMES I WAS IN TEARS BUT I COULD NOT PUT THE BOOK DOWN UNTIL THE VERY LAST PAGE. I ONLY HOPE RON IS AT PEACE IN HEAVEN AND DENNIS IS GETTING ON WITH HIS LIFE AS BEST HE CAN. I STILL DESPAIR FOR TOMMY AND KARL WHO ARE SERVING AN UNJUST SENTENCE AND HOPE THEIR NAMES ARE CLEARED. I DON'T HAVE ANY WORDS TO DESCRIBE BILL PETERSON AND THE REST OF HIS COHORTS IN THE TOWN OF ADA. WELL DONE JUDE SEAY AND THE REST OF THE DEFENCE TEAM. THIS WAS A VERY WELL WRITTEN BOOK MR GRISHAM. JACKIE FROM LEICESTER IN ENGLAND.

Julie, Brigg, England said...

Hi, I'm three quarters through The Innocent man and cannot believe the injustice that obviously still goes on in these small towns. It has always been my dream to live in one of these towns, and I think I have an ideallistic view on them because I most certainly would not want to be a part of anything connected to the horrible way Ron Williamson was treated. Only God knows what him and his family must have gone through.
To think he could have been just five days from death is unbelieveable.
I am a big fan of Grisham and have read most of his books. I got this one for Christmas and thought it was fiction, I wasnt prepared for the effect it had on me.
Thank God a small comfort was that Ron had his families support through his time in prison but little comfort that the likes of Big Bad Bill Peterson and the likes can still reighn not so supreme in Ada Oklahoma! RIP Ron and God bless his family.

Anonymous said...

I am still reading "The Innocent Man" and I was so overwhelmed by the story that I decided to search the web n read more about it.It hurts to know that people's lives are wasted for something which they did'nt do because some people who was suppose to do their work did not do what they were suppose to do. God rest your soul, Ron and my blessings to Dennis as well.God will find justice in the end.

Anonymous said...

Like many others who have posted comments regarding the story of Ron Williamson, I am only half finished with the book. I simply cannot understand how such a travesty of justice can occur and the truly guilty ones (e.g. the DA, the police, the evidence experts, and even the judge) are not being held accountable for their crimes.

The fact that Mr. Peterson is still an elected official is beyond my comprehension. Are the people of Ada, Oklahoma actually that foolish to let a man like that go on doing what he does?

He should be dis-barred and made to spend the rest of his life behind bars along with the other equally guilty individuals who persecuted, mentally tortured and eventually caused the untimely death of Mr. Williamson.

Barbara's Journey Toward Justice said...

John Grisham and Dennis Fritz Unite On A Journey Toward Justice
John Grisham, author of "The Innocent Man", published by "Doubleday Random House" and Dennis Fritz author of "Journey Toward Justice", published by "Seven Locks Press" Santa Ana, CA have a long term commitment to making appearances related to "the innocence movement" nationwide.

Grisham's first nonfiction book, "The Innocent Man" is a best seller on Amazon worldwide. Dennis Fritz has his first book "Journey Toward Justice" on Amazon and is a top seller worldwide.

The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town, is a chronicle of the Oklahoma case that resulted in the wrongful conviction of former minor-league baseball player Ron Williamson and his friend Dennis Fritz.
Once asked whether his book is a kind of social activism, he says: "When I researched and wrote the book, it was impossible not to become indignant and infuriated. And that becomes an activism in itself."

Journey Toward Justice: Dennis Fritz tells his side of the story of his unwarranted prosecution and wrongful conviction, that changed his life and a small community forever.
Dennis Fritz was tried and convicted on non-existent evidence, the false testimony of jailhouse snitches, faulty forensics work and suppressed evidence.

Together and Separately they attend many fundraising events and appear on Television and Radio Talk Shows.

I heard May 22 both John Grisham and Dennis Fritz will be on Dateline.

Grisham spoke Thursday May 10th at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center, In Kansas City for an Innocence Project fundraiser. The Innocence Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing legal aid to prisoners "with persuasive actual innocence claims" in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska,Iowa, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Sponsors were the Midwestern Innocence Project, the McKellar Group and Rainy Day Books.

Grisham discussed his recent nonfiction book, The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town.This chronicled the Oklahoma case that resulted in the wrongful convictions of former minor-league baseball player Ron Williamson who was sentenced to die.
Ron died of cirrhosis in December 2004, five years after being freed.

Thursday in an interview with The Kansas City Star, author John Grisham said the death penalty in the United States should be "abolished forever".
He also said it is his personal view that the death penalty is immoral. Grisham realizes that the most powerful argument against the death penalty is that it kills the innocent as well as the guilty, a case that he makes simply by telling Williamson and Fritz's story.
He also discussed Ron Williamson's friend Dennis Fritz. Dennis Fritz got life in prison. Both were exonerated after spending years in prison.

Dennis Fritz also works with the Innocence Project in Kansas City, Missouri. He makes appearances related to "the innocence movement" nationwide.
He is using a book he recently published, "Journey Toward Justice", as a vehicle to bring awareness of the overall, devastating effects of how false convictions can destroy people's lives and how mistakes can be made in cases. He travels the United States speaking to law schools and also hopes to reach prosecutors and judges.

Here is what Barry Scheck from The Innocence Project says about Dennis Fritz's book Journey Toward Justice:
There have been one hundred eighty-one post-conviction DNA exonerations in America. The exonerated and their families are the heart and soul of this movement. There is no more decent and dignified a man, nor a more gentle soul, than Dennis Fritz. He has had the fortitude to tell his whole story. As always, I am in awe of his courage and humbled by his efforts.- Barry C. Scheck The Innocence Project

Anonymous said...

Did not realize the book is a true story until halfway. These people like Bill Peterson who are supposed to protect the innocents are the arrogant one who will do anything for their own gain. They are the one to be hanged.

Just wondering what happened to Ward and Fontenot. Is the Innocent Project still alive?

And before I forget, I salute Annette and Renee and those who are responsible for the release of Ron & Dennis.

Anonymous said...

I recently finished "The Innocent Man" and this book left me so very disturbed. I have been a member of a jury but not to this degree. It makes me understand that when one serves on a jury they have to be clear of mind and totally committed to innocence until proven guilty. I am so sad for what Ron and Dennis went through in prison as well as some of the others represented by "The Innocence Project" This sickens me and deserves to be researched like Cancer and Heart Disease. Thanks to all that are committed to this project. I am not trained to help in the cause but I can say that I have found an organization that I can donate money to and feel happy about the donation. People who serve on juries must always remember that occupation alone does not lend credibility. This is only ONE example.Thank You for a very sad but encouraging story.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading the Innocent Man and this is a horrible example of our justice system. The sad thing is this still happening. I hate to think how many people have died due to wrongful convictions

Anonymous said...

I have just finished reading The Innocent Man by John Grisham. It is shocking - for a civilised society to allow this injustice. Put Peterson in the lockup and see how it feels. What a disgrace. My ultimate respect to Ron's 2 sisters - they are incredible. Well done John Grisham - an enthralling albeit depressing read.

Laura Blackmon said...

I finished reading "The Innocent Man" last night. Grisham did an outstanding job in revealing this tragic true story to the world. I am a Christian and believe that Jesus never 'repealed' the death penalty...........but, Ron Williamson was certainly not worthy of such punishment! God never makes mistakes and in His 'allowing' fallen man to convict Ron and afterwards exonerating him, many lessons can be learned by all involved. Annette and Renee spent much time on their knees drawing them closer to the Lord as only difficult times can do. Ron found a closer personal relationship with the Lord as well because of his endurance - I believe now he can enjoy the presence of the Lord even more than if it had never happened. The Bible says: "In everything, give thanks".....this includes the bad with the good. One day the great Judge will right all wrongs!!!!!!!!!! Mrs. Laura Blackmon, Florence, South Carolina

Anonymous said...

I just finished THE INNOCENT MAN, my most disturbing read since Caryl Chessman's CELL 2455 DEATH ROW (as a high school senior) and Truman Capote's IN COLD BLOOD. John Grisham has written a very important book. I do support the death penalty, but only in cases where the evidence indicates guilt without question. We must be extremely careful using the power to sentence a man to death. Far too many errors were made in these cases! Everyone should read this book. YVS

Anonymous said...

I, too, just finished reading the novel. I am extremely happy for Mr. Williamson's vindication. However, my conviction about the necessity of the death penalty did not change. Human governments, in order to punish wrongdoers, have this authority given to them by God. To not have this authority is to invite chaos to reign and human life to be devalued. I applaud and encourage the efforts of groups to clear those wrongly convicted. We can, and should have, both the death penalty and exoneration efforts at the same time. It is not an either/or situation.

Anonymous said...

Like the hundreds of others ,i just finished reading John Grisham's "The innocent man" and came straight here to look it up.i kept finding it hard to believe that this was a work of non fiction.How can a system be so overtly blind?And how can people in office shirk their most basic sense of duty and sleep well at night?eleven years?no apology? Anette and Renee deserve all our prayers and well wishes for loving their brother and showing the world what the word family really means.Alot of people in your place would have walked away.Kudos to the entire legal team who fought on Ron and Dennis's behalf.Bill Peterson and the two detectives from Ada i think i speak for all when i say "YOU'LL STINK"!

Anonymous said...

I am very nearly finished with the book, and was moved about halfway through to do research on this case online. I do not find it inconceivable that such a travesty of justice took place, it takes place every day in this country. The justice system seeks revenge and closure, not the truth. The truth is, if you can afford legal counsel, you can prevail. If you can't, God help you. That being said, the actions of the Ada police department, the DA and the judge were reprehensible. The actions of the appellate courts were nearly as bad. The best thing that could happen is that a tornado destroy the courthouse in Ada...preferably with Bill Peterson in it.

Anonymous said...

Hi,I'm an Italian girl who's just finished to read Grishman's book "The innocent man". Ron Williamson's story is something incredible and I think that it can make us understand how the law and justice sometimes are not there at all, and not only in USA.

Anonymous said...

I'm still in the reading of John Grisham's "The innocent man", and I completely agree to all the comments of most of the people in this blog who curse Bill Peterson and bless Ron and his family but, living in Europe (Italy) I have a question and I hope someone can answer:

as soon as we Europeans could understand, the American legal system is supposed to protect the innocent since he/she's proven to be guilty.
But, in most cases - and this case is a perfect example - American legal system always protect the rich defendants (for example OJ Simpson) and doesn't take any care of the poor.
So my question is: how could an American citizen in 2007 could still be in favour of death penality?
Thank you all for your attention.
Simona

Anonymous said...

I am a German lawyer specialised in criminal law. I am travelling to the States very often and respect the people and the "American Way of Live ". I am more than glad however to live in Germany, a country that is more than civilised regarding criminal law. How can anybody respect the American court and trialsystem after so many O.J. Simsons and Ron Williamsons?You have to be rich and/or white and well educated to survive. The American dream? Liberty?Equality? Where are the? thorsten.kahl@t-online.de

Anonymous said...

Hi Im from Europe and also just finished reading "the innocent man". Even though there can be put many queations to Grishams writing about this case, I still feel disgusted about this case.
I have traveled the world many times and truly now i realized why I feel more affraid of travelling in USA country side than in a country like Cambodia. Narrowminded small town people unfortunately run a great deal of the american system.
A sad story and a sad and freightening country...

Anonymous said...

I would love to know if those detectives are still employed in Ada. I was horrified at their practices. There should be some sort of penaly for them and for Peterson. I read in the book of Obadiah "As thou hast done, so shall it be done unto thee." I think this would be appropriate for those people in Ada who were involved in this travesty.

Anonymous said...

I too just finished reading The Innocent Man and completely agree with the comments presenting the disgust over the incompetence of these "officers of the law." Most of the comments have focused on the death penalty and the sham of a trial. However, I would like to comment on society's views towards the mentally ill. Too often I've made mention that it would be better to have a physical illness such as cancer than a mental illness. People are far more caring and wanting to help those with a physical problem. But we as a whole will not hesitate to be suspicious or afraid of those with a mental problem. Don't tell me that part of the reason Ron Williamson was targeted wasn't because of the lack of understanding about his problems on the part of the police, DA, as well as the town people.
We all have a sense of fear towards things that are different or un-understandable. As shown in this book, it's not always easy to diagnose the exact problem with mental illness. And many people with these problems are not provided the adequate care they need. Families who do not have the large sums of money to provide their loved ones with the proper medical treatment are often left trying to control a situation that they are totally unprepared for. It's very difficult to get help on many levels.
I have a brother born with Down's Syndrome. Although this is a disability and not an illnes I've seen the reactions from people when we are out in public. I've even seen mothers quickly move their children as if they might catch his condition. It often amazes me that in this day and age people are still so ignorant and rude. I would just like to educate people that we should all have an understanding of compassion for anyone with either a disability or an illnes, whether it be physical or mental. None of us knows what tomorrow brings into our lives. You could be in a bad accident that damages part of your brain, or you might have a child/grandchild who is born with a problem. We should all think of this when ever we encounter someone different than ourselves.
In a final note, I'd like to take this opportunity to convey my admiration and sympathies to Ron's sisters. Your courage and love towards your brother should be an example to all.

ivylynn said...

I too just finished reading The Innocent Man and completely agree with the comments presenting the disgust over the incompetence of these "officers of the law." Most of the comments have focused on the death penalty and the sham of a trial. However, I would like to comment on society's views towards the mentally ill. Too often I've made mention that it would be better to have a physical illness such as cancer than a mental illness. People are far more caring and wanting to help those with a physical problem. But we as a whole will not hesitate to be suspicious or afraid of those with a mental problem. Don't tell me that part of the reason Ron Williamson was targeted wasn't because of the lack of understanding about his problems on the part of the police, DA, as well as the town people.
We all have a sense of fear towards things that are different or un-understandable. As shown in this book, it's not always easy to diagnose the exact problem with mental illness. And many people with these problems are not provided the adequate care they need. Families who do not have the large sums of money to provide their loved ones with the proper medical treatment are often left trying to control a situation that they are totally unprepared for. It's very difficult to get help on many levels.
I have a brother born with Down's Syndrome. Although this is a disability and not an illnes I've seen the reactions from people when we are out in public. I've even seen mothers quickly move their children as if they might catch his condition. It often amazes me that in this day and age people are still so ignorant and rude. I would just like to educate people that we should all have an understanding of compassion for anyone with either a disability or an illnes, whether it be physical or mental. None of us knows what tomorrow brings into our lives. You could be in a bad accident that damages part of your brain, or you might have a child/grandchild who is born with a problem. We should all think of this when ever we encounter someone different than ourselves.
In a final note, I'd like to take this opportunity to convey my admiration and sympathies to Ron's sisters. Your courage and love towards your brother should be an example to all.

Anonymous said...

I read the book last month and i must say its really terrible what happened to Ron. It only goes to show how bad the system has become. i believe these things still happen in our society but some day we pray,respite will come to stay. People like Peterson should have nothing doing in a law court because they have no understanding...
chriss286@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I am nearly finished reading the Innocent Man by John Grisham and all thoroughly disgusted by the DA William Peterson and Detectives Gary Rogers&Dennis Smith that Peterson is still the prosecuter for Ada makes me physically ill I used to be on the fence as far as the death penalty was concerned but I could not be more against now after reading the book God Bless Annette and Renee and the faimly of Debbie Carter

Anonymous said...

Hi I am from Europe thank God.
After reading the innocent man,I can not believe a country like America are allowed to use convicts and people who are in jail as witnesses this is insane,you can not send people to jail on hearsay you need good solid evidence from reliable sources that this is allowed really shocks me.America is not so civalised.these 2 cops and peterson should be put on trial,and half of Ada they should these families no support,thank God for anette and renee and spouces.When I come to visit America I will only be visiting the East coast and the West coast as everything inbetween these to coasts is Red Neck country.

Bas said...

Hi,
Why am I googling Ron Williamsons name??
Is it because I was shocked?
I am dutch, live near Amsterdam and am not easily shocked but his story did anyway.
I almost feel like flying over to Ada and kicking Peterson's @ss myself...jeeeeez, what a shame!

Anonymous said...

I am a first cousin of Thomas (Tommy)J. Ward. Tommy's mom is my mom's sister. Our families have never given up hope that Tommy would be found innocent of a crime he did not commit. I applaud Mr. Grisham and Mr. Mayer for work well done. My cousin Joice, Tommy's sister has been speaking out against the injustice done to Tommy. Our family has plenty of evidence to prove Tommy's innocence, things that were never brought up in his hearing that would exhonorate him, and evidence of shotty police work. Our families are not wealthy, at the time of Tommy's conviction we did not have the money to get a fancy lawyer to help plead Tommy's case. For the past 22 years we have been praying for a miracle. If it take people like Mr Grisham and Mr. Mayer to get our story out, the better for it. We might not be rich, but our riches lies in our faith in God. Thank you everyone for your support and please help us pray that the real killer either gets a conscience( I know that this is hopeful thinking) and comes forward. Also please keep Tommy in your prayers, that God keeps giving him the spirit to keep fighting for truth and justice and not to give up.

Tommy is up for parole again in 2009. So far each time he has come up for parole - parole has been denied. Maybe this time it will be different.

Again from mine and Tommy's family thank you.

noggie said...

I am disgusted after reading John Grisham,s book ,, The Innocent Man ,, , and am convinced Tommy and his friend are innocent too.

AMERICA stink !!

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading the book. I was shocked and i felt really sad. I feel for the famillys of the victims and themselves(williamson and fritz) and hope they forgive mankind.

Anonymous said...

JUST FINISHED READING INNOCENT MAN..ALL I CAN SAY IS THIS IS PROBABLY THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG,LOTS MORE S..T IN THE COUNTRY..I BELIEVE THAT THE U.S. SHOULD CLEAN UP HER OWN INTERNAL ACTIONS INSTEAD OF SPREADING HATE WORLDWIDE...SHAME.

Aimee from Canada said...

I am from Canada and very thankful that we do not have the death sentence here. I am so saddened by Ron's story. I am grateful to Mr. Grisham for writing such an eye opener. I am grateful to have read about Mr. Williamson as well. He stated that if he could do it again, he would not be born. Just maybe, with God sparing in the end, had it not happened at all, than maybe Mr. Grisham would not have been able to really make people aware that this happens. And, we need to stop it. Mr. Williamson is at peace with the Lord, I am sorry to say Peterson will be nowhere near there when his time comes. My prayers are with you, Annette and Renee. As well, to you and your families, Peggy and Charlie. I hope you are all able to move on with strength from God.

Anonymous said...

i just finished reading the book the innocent man i was shocked about reality in the us. i am against death penalty. as it is said in the book people get punished for killing but what right does the state have to kill?
i thinkit is irresponsible what mr.bill peterson did because 11 years is like a lifetime and he should have at least apologized.
the police work in ada should be improved.

patrik said...

i´m just so glad i dont live in the states!! its bad enough with that giant leap back to the stonage when deathpenalty is acceptable. When the system wants to execute innocent people and, at the same time, sleep good at night, you gotta know you´re heading down a very wrong way.

Anonymous said...

i have just finish reading the innocent man. i a fan of john grisham books but this one has been the best. for ron, dennis and there family, you are the best. your surport & love have helped both these men. i have a daughter and her family living in america, i hope that this never happens to her. what is the saying innocent until proven guilty. i see they are just words to these people in ada. to the lawyer who believe, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi

I have just finished reading this book a few days ago.... Coming from Australia we dont have the death penalty and could never fathom the effects it has on a human being.... After reading this book I was so emotionally drained, I cried and cried for Ron and Dennis and the others which have been wrongfully accused. I felt so much hate for those corrupt officers of Ada, allowing innocent men go to Jail and rot their lives away.... I felt so much for Ron not getting the proper medical attention he needed and deserved...

I could go on but I wont I will say though that I couldnt believe that the staory was true as I didnt believe that this sort of thing could happen...and send someone away knowingly for life/death as it were for a crime they did not commit....

Thanks Mr Grisham for opening my eyes and to all those who have been wrongfully accused, never give up....

Ann (Australia)

Anonymous said...

I am from Zimbabwe and ther they have an incompetent and compromised judiciary system but to think that this happened in the States is unthinkable.I still have another 100 pages to go with the book. May Mr Grisham live forever!!

Anonymous said...

I am the mother of a mentally ill son, now 39 yrs old, with the same diagnosis as Ron.

This book made me incredibly grateful that we been able to keep my son out of the justice system (he has been arrested for trashing a public restroom) & and in a good board and care home. He is well, stable on medication, and safe. Praise God!

Cheryl said...

I too have just finished reading this book. Bravo My Grisham for bringing this to light.
There is nothing I can say, that other posters have not said.
The story is very disturbing, and touched me deeply.
May Ron be finally at peace, and Dennis have a happy life.

Anonymous said...

A modicum of justice has been served. See the Article Below:

Successor named to DA blasted in Grisham book


OKLAHOMA CITY -- Veteran prosecutor Chris Ross was named district attorney for Pontotoc, Seminole and Hughes counties on Monday by Gov. Brad Henry.

Ross, now the first assistant district attorney for Pontotoc County, succeeds Bill Peterson, who has been the district attorney for nearly 28 years and is retiring Jan. 1.

Peterson has been the subject of much controversy because of his prosecutions of three men who were later released from prison after being exonerated by DNA testing.

One of those cases was for a rape, and the falsely accused man had served 20 years in prison when he was cleared.

The other case was that of Dennis Fritz and Ron Williamson, who were both convicted of the 1982 murder and rape of an Ada woman. Fritz was sentenced to life in prison, and Williamson, who received a death sentence, was five days away from being executed when a federal judge intervened. Both men were released from prison in 1999.

Peterson sued author John Grisham in September for libel for the portrayal of him in Grisham's first nonfiction book, "The Innocent Man." The book delivers a scathing attack on the police investigation and prosecution of the Fritz and Williamson

Anonymous said...

That's our law enforcement for you... dumb idiots. Between them and most of the scum-sucking lawyers... it's not surprising tht Ron Williamson spent 11 years in prison for nothing. He was almost killed! Wonder how many other innocent people have been put to death for crimes they didn't commit. Scary to think about, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

It really is shocking that a so called civilised country still uses such an outdated and clearly inappropraite form of punishment. The US is quick to accuse other countries governments of civil rights infringements when they really should be looking closer to home. It seems shocking that so many people have been sentenced to death with out any physical evidence! It is clear from John Grisham's book and other articles on this subject that the justice system in the United States is driven by small town forces who want a conviction over finding out the truth. Even a child could see that some of these cases were ridiculous and there seems to be absolutely no requirement for an impartial jury - surely the only requirement if someone is to receive a fair trial??

Anonymous said...

I feel rather sad after reading not only about Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz and also about Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot. I cannot believe that the same DA who was involved in both murder cases and who wrongly convicted four innocent people, is still in office. I wish Ron was still alive to enjoy his freedom a little longer. Hope Dennis is making the most of his second chance at life and hopefully someday soon the other two will also be freed. God bless you all!

Anonymous said...

Hello! I am currentlly a student majoring in Criminal Justice to later attend law school.I have worked in law enforcement for about 15 years and this is my passion. As I was reading, "The Innocent Man" by John Grisham my desire to become a Judge has much increase because it is stories like this that makes you wander what in the hellofit was the judge thinking did he know the law. My heart broke as I read this book and I can't help but to wonder if Ron had not went through all the abuse and neglect would he still be here. And with that thought if the answer was yes then the system, judge, DA, Correctional Officers, Police and all who refused to stand up for fairness killed Ron. To the sisters I love you for loving you brother and not giving up on him you both has set a Godly example of how we should treat and be there for one another I pray for many blessing and God's devine light to continue to shine through you. GOD BLESS!!!!
Beverly Hill
Albany Georgia

Anonymous said...

I am reading The Innocent Man as I write this. I recieved the book for christmas from a friend as it is so much like my brothers case.He to was convicted of rape and spent 13 years locked up.The thing is is that the police which he had dealings with in petty stuff,lied in open court after they told him they would someday put him away for a long time. I could not get a lawyer in our town 20,000 to take on the case. As one told me *off the record* they had been told not to take the case. So I know what his sisters went through. Thank God there are people out there fighting to help overturn these injustices. God bless them all.

Anonymous said...

The story of two innocent men, robbed of valuable time with family and friends is sickening. I am appauled that the Judicial system allows Peterson to continue in office. I more offended by the Church! Annette attended and served the Lord for years & years, yet they "The Church" turned their "holier than thou" backs on her and her family in a time of her great need. SHAME ON THEM!!! "Judge not, lest ye be judged."

Anonymous said...

I have just finished John Grisham's "The Innocent Man", I could not put the book down once I started reading it. It's unbelievable to think that so many errors can happen throughout an investigation especially where the sentencing can be the death penaly - it appears that some police authorities will do what ever they can to get a conviction. I live in the UK and as everyone knows we do not use the death penaly as form of punishment for a crime but I was still touched by this book and what Ron Williamson and his family went through during that time in their lives.

My heart and thoughts go out to Ron, God rest his soul - no doubt now at peace with himself and now with his beloved parents who undoubtedly loved their son. My heart and thoughts also go out to Annette and Renee, you stayed strong for your brother at all times and you helped him fight for justice - a long journey without a doubt but you got there in the end. Good people go to good places, bad people go to where they deserve. Ron is in a good place.

A note to Mr Grisham, your books are fantastic, but this one is in my opinion the best book I have ever read by any author, I was touched by this story and will always remember Ron Williamson.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading John Grisham's even though I'm not a regular reader; "The innocent Man" has really torched my heart. Ronald Keith Williamson and Dennis Fritz, have really gone through hell on earth. I really pray Ronald Keith Williamson enjoys life in heaven.

Anonymous said...

hi. i´m from germany. i read the innocent man. at first i thought it was a fantasy story. at the and of the book, i was shocked, that it all was real. i´m against the death penalty and i´m very happy to live in germany, where it doesnt exist. i hope ron is happy now.
god bless you all

Anonymous said...

I'm in the middle of reading The Innocent Man but already know the outcome, obviously. I've never been for the death penalty because I think not only is inhumane but there are too many innocent people killed because of stories just like this one. I just read of a man in Grand Prairie, TX who was recently released after serving 25 yrs in jail for a rape/murder he didn't commit. Why? because he didn't have OJ's money to hire a decent lawyer. What future can this man have after being in prison most of his life? What would have happened to the Duke LaCross teammates if they'd been wrongfully convicted. I believe in justice but the lack of evidence and sloppy police work is happening far too often, still. May all those who've died as martyrs be with God in Heaven!

Anonymous said...

Having just finished "The Innocent Man" I am incredibly angry, disgusted and shocked at the US justice system. The corruption, incompetencey and determination of most of those concerned in the prosecution is mind boggling. They would stoop to any level to secure a conviction. Their misuse of forensics, the railroading with confessions and unrecorded interviews and the blatant use of a stream of lying snitches.

Just how big is Ada!! This is a town with an over-abundance of
churches and a population that seems to believe it holds a strong Christian ethic. An ethic that was certainly not visible during all the years of Ron Williamson's troubled psychiatric history. It must have been so obvious but all cries for help went unanswered. The erratic use of his medications during all his years of incarceration is criminal as are the infrequent assessments and treatment given during this time.

Has Ada progressed at all from the days of the Wild West when some poor sap had a sherrif's badge pinned to his jacket and was told to go out and administer law and order!! Do police officers go to a police training college before "walking the beat" or do they simply receive on the job training
after applying for a job?

How come so many of those involved in these prosecution are still employed in law enforcement!

One cannot but wonder just how many innocents are sitting on death row around America

Missouri is listening said...

I just finished the book "The Innocent Man". I don't think mere words can describe what these men in Ada (and any other innocent people convicted and sentenced to death) have had to bear. Grisham did an outstanding writing to try to help us understand but the other tradgedy is that this continues to happen and Peterson is still allowed to practice law. The Bar should have stripped him of his license to practice. The police and other involved in the prison system should be held accountable also. Thank God Ron, Dennis Fritz and Greg Wilhout's families stood by them because that was probably the only thing that kept them alive during their "time" on "the row". I never took time to consider how many innocent people are convicted but from now on when I read or hear news reports of evidence, witnesses etc, it will be hard not to think it's all garbage. We've lost faith in our government leaders and as well, our legal system. When will someone put an end to these nightmares? Thanks for giving us a voice on your blog.

Knowledge is Power said...

I just finished reading "An Innocent Man". I had do run some errands and wait in long lines, so I took it read and though I was in full view of 60 people I couldn't stop myself from crying. It`s unvelievable how authorities can be so selfish, blind, and stupid as to prefer sending innocent people to jail than to admit that they can be wrong and somebody else is guilty.
Don't they realize they put so many people through so much suffering? Not only Ron, Dennis and thier families lived through this hell, but also the family of the victim.
I hope Ron's sisters find some comfort in the fact that thier little brother was able to breath his last years as a free man. I hope Dennis is able to enjoy the rest of his life with as little pain from the scars of this terrible ordeal. But most of all I hope people learn from this that the death penalty might sound like a good thing in theory, but in reality we as humans are not capable of handling it and should not use it at all.
Only god can judge fairly enough to decide who's to die for a sin.

Anonymous said...

I have just finished reading John Grishams book of this mis carriage of justice. I wish I could contact Ron's sisters to let them know what a powerful message they give throughout the book about love and unfailing devotion. You are an inspiration ladies - may God bless you.

Anonymous said...

I just came across John Grisham's book in a second hand book store. I had been totally unaware of this case. I'm in the middle of it now, and like so many others who have left comments on this site, I just had to find out more via the internet - to see where Bill Peterson had ended up, to see if anything has changed since this travesity of jutice happened (has it?). I have always been against the death penatly like many other Brits, and this is one of very the reason's why. I feel so bad for what happened to Ron and his family. And, to think he only lived until he was 51 - I saw a picture of him with his sisters before he died and he looked about 70, not a young man at all, which is what he still was when he was cleared of this terrible crime. I read another comment where someone said all of Bill's previous cases should be re-examined and I totally agree! I wonder if they ever were....I'll continue reading Grisham's book, but I just felt moved to write something.

njpcsd said...

As a law enforcement officer who just finished reading John Grisham's "The Innocent Man", I sit here reflecting and writing this partly ashamed to be part of the criminal justice system that failed Ron Williamson. I can only hope the abuse of authority and the miscarrige of justice in his case never comes anywhere near me. I'll stand proudly at my Judgement knowing in my heart I did my best in a system that doesn't claim to be perfect. With the book, I'll leave it at my headquarters with the hope it will be picked up and read over and over again. After reading some of the comments here I agree Ron's story should be told throughout the law enforcement community. In truth it probably won't and that's a shame. But I am grateful for the voices of those that fight for the wrongfully convicted. Perhaps I've found more than an interesting book to read? I may not be as conservative as I always thought and may have found a new direction in my career. ...ktaylor@pcsheriff.org

Anonymous said...

this story is basically the ultimate argument against the death penalty. however i noticed none of you saying that Ron was a firm believer in capital punishment even after being wrongly convicted. Still i am firmly against the death penalty

Anonymous said...

this is the most amazing life i've ever read about i totally relate to you anettee and renee as having a mother with bipolar and thank you john grisham for telling his story. Also to all whom helped in freeing and innocent person persummed quilty for having a mental illness. We are dealing with this in our family now though the charges are not punisable by death thanks for insight and hope pray for us.

wronged said...

Please do not believe that cases like this are rare or unusual. They are not. Murder/death penalty case have the highest level of 'proof' necessary to convict, yet cases like this happen all the time. It was found that 10% of death row cases in Illinois were wrong.

My sister in law routinely accuses people who anger her of molesting her children. "Children don't lie" is all that's needed to convict. No evidence - even evidence that proves it couldn't be true - is needed. Rape shield laws and medical confidentiality laws keep the accuser's past history from being admissible, while the accused is guilty no matter what.

Next time you want to post someone's picture in public, run them out of town or tell them where they can live, or work, or keep them from attending their child's school play keep in mind that person MAY be innocent - God only knows.

Anonymous said...

Grisham Sued for Libel

THE NEW YORK TIMES September 29, 2007

"The novelist John Grisham has been named in a libel lawsuit filed over a
nonfiction best seller he wrote about the 1982 murder of a cocktail waitress,
The Associated Press reported yesterday."

I can only shake my head in disbelief and say, "It figures." No good deed goes unpunished, as they say... John Grisham and the others named in the lawsuit
do not deserve such aggravation.

Having just finished the book, tears streamed down my face for many reasons:
obviously for Ron, his family and friends but for my brother and ex-husband. Both struggled with mental challenges and alcoholism. My brother's escape was ending his own life in 1999 and my ex-husband suffered the painful death from
cirrhosis of the liver, as Ron did, in his mid-40's in 2005. Both had minor scrapes with the law and tended to hang out with "the wrong people". Either one of them
could have easily been in the wrong place at the wrong time and suffered Ron Williamson's demise. I see glimpses of both of their lives in Ron's story. I am sickened, saddened, but strangely enriched by this book.

Anonymous said...

I am a retired police officer and just finished Mr. Grisham's book. There were many times I considered throwing the book away for the way he portrayed the police in Ron's story. I didn't because THEY deserved the criticism. I want people to know that most police officers work very hard to insure that people are treated fairly, some are even against the death penalty.

Bev, Eastbourne, England said...

Hi, I too have just finished the John Grisham book and never in my life has a story captivated me so much... i can not understand how or why these people would set Ron & Dennis up on such a serious charge (and so many were involved in the whole currupt trial from start to finish)why are they not facing charges??? What wonderful sisters Ron had, my heart went out to them many times throughout the book and I am so pleased that Dennis's daughter kept in touch with him and that he is now a proud grandfather.
I hope that Johns book makes the people of Ada see that the only bad people in their town are mostly controlling it.
May Dennis live a long and happier life now and may Ron have found the peace he was looking for and be entertaining them all in Heaven with his guitar & singing!

Anonymous said...

i have just finished John Grisham's book and i can't beleive in a country like America things like this go on. It is disgraceful that these people are still in a position to do the same thing to other inocent people.
i intend on getting a copy of dreams of ada and also dennis fritz's book journey toward justice

Jim Kirstein Roch.ny said...

I just finished reading the innocent man. I have never been so outraged. I dont understand hoe the ADA police figure into gores rug dealing ect. and how peterson ties in and why none of these individuals were never indicted..

Anonymous said...

After concluding the audio book of The Innocent Man by Grisham and visting this site, I can't believe people can't believe this type of injustice (as well as a plethora of other injustices) go on continually. Now, what are YOU going to do?

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading John Grishams "The Innocent Man".
Just goes to show you what happens in small town America, where police, DA's that are lazy and will not do smart police work and want a conviction at any cost.
That is why the town, police settled with Ron Williams, and Dennis Fritz for 5 mil. Small town police forces are lazy, embedded with "rogue cops" who do not care about people's constitional rights. I have seen this is Alabama.
Thanks John Grisham for your writting,as I have been a fan for years. My next reading will be "The Dreams of Ada".
Don
WSpruill@bellsouth.net

Anonymous said...

I too have just finished The Innocent Man and can not believe the citizens of Ada OK still allow Bill Peterson to represent them in court; he is the one who should be in jail. I will never visit Ada OK and I feel for all of the people that live in that corrupt little town,

ppdst27 said...

I had never heard of this story. It is ridiculous how the justice system played with these men's lives. I can only imagine how many innocent people have died or are in jail because no one took the necessary time to look into a case. I hope that by sharing Ron's story with the world provides some consolation for his family.

Ron said...

Thanks to John Grishom for writing "The Innocent Man".
I cannot put into words how bad I feel for Ron who spent all those years on death row. How inhumane is this for anyone, guilty or innocent, to be put through such torchure. Thank God, in Canada the death penalty has been abolished.
I pray that States like Texas and Oklahome will soon follow suite.

Anonymous said...

I am halfway through this very disturbing story. It is shocking the way Ron and Dennis were treated before, during and after the trial. It is not amazing! it is a disgraceful, immoral, scandalous and shameful thing that happened.

It is horrific when innocent people are sentenced for crimes they did not commit and never mind the fact that one was almost executed.

The death penelty is barbaric and should be abolished immediately. It has no place in a civilised world at all. I thank God that we do not have it in our country.

I have never believed in the death penalty and nothing could ever convince me that taking the life of one will correct things. Further what makes those that have to carry out the execution any better than the killer? That you can get a legal job as an executioner is beyond belief - no normal person would do such a job!

I know Ron must be in heaven now and is enjoying eternal peace.

Anonymous said...

I am a Filipino Paralegal who is working in the UAE and a great fan of John Grisham. I am so used to his fictions that i was so intrigued what motivated him to write non-fiction and the subject is Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz themselves. I have come to know these personalities through the web. Though i almost known the plot of the story, i still can't help but shake my head on the incompetence of the Ada justice system at that time. Hope more unknown stories would be revealed by John.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading mr. Grishams book and i am absolutely appalled that this was allowed to happen to a human being, what were these police officers and lawyers thinks? One would have to be blind not to have seen just how innocent these men were, being the sister of a mentally ill sibling i can relate to Renee and Annette and my heart goes out to them, please let us not forget about any of the men portrayed in this book and let us never forget just how fragile life and freedom can be.
Rest in peace Ron, you deserve it after the life you had, may god conyimue to shine on the families of these men. sherry jackson

helen said...

As an RN this book upset me .I didnt realize these things are happening in our day & age.I hope to God this changes things, but i strongly feel things will continue to be beuracratic.