Randy Mitchell Special Correspondent
Attorneys for a man convicted of kidnapping and killing a convenience store clerk will appear in Pontotoc County District Court Monday.
Karl Fontenot, now 49, was one of two men convicted of the robbery, kidnapping and murder of Denice Haraway while she was working at McAnnally’s convenience store in April 1984. Attorneys with the Oklahoma Innocence Project are representing Fontenot. The OIP has investigated Fontenot’s case since 2012 and, according to the OIP Web site, discovered “new evidence that demonstrates (Fontenot’s) actual innocence.”
Fontenot’s attorneys will appear before Judge Tom Landrith concerning a July 2013 filing of a “brief in support for post-conviction relief for Karl Fontenot” filed by the OIP. In the document, the OIP levels allegations that Fontenot’s “due process rights were violated due to police misconduct when taking a false confession and the prosecution knowingly introduced false testimony during his trial.”
Fontenot, who is incarcerated in Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing, will not accompany his attorneys Monday. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Pontotoc County District Attorney Chris Ross, one of the original prosecutors in the case, said he remains convinced Fontenot and a co-defendant (Tommy Ward) were responsible for the woman’s killing.
Fontenot and Ward were tried in September 1985 and found guilty. Both men are serving life sentences.
The OIP is not representing Tommy Ward and a representative said Thursday Ward has an attorney separate from the OIP. The State Attorney General’s Office will represent the state of Oklahoma in the case.