- Ada, Oklahoma

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July 26, 2013

Innocence project files on Fontenot’s behalf


Ada —

The disappearance of Haraway continues to be the subject of books, television and newspaper stories. A 24-year-old East Central University student and convenience store clerk, Haraway was reportedly abducted by two men who police believe also robbed the store of $167. 

Police found Haraway’s purse and keys inside the store and her vehicle parked outside. Witnesses told police they arrived at the store just as two men and a woman, later identified as Haraway, walked out and got into an early 1970s model gray primered Chevrolet pickup.

One of the witnesses said the three walked close together and one of the men had his hand on Haraway’s back. The other witness entered the store and discovered it unattended and the cash register draw open, accordng to an account of the incident reported in The Ada Evening News April 30, 1984.

Haraway was still missing several months later when Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot were arrested. The two men reportedly confessed to the crime after hours of interrogation. In September 1985, a jury found Ward and Fontenot guilty of murdering Haraway and recommended death penalties. Their execution date was set for January 1986. However, Fontenot was granted a new trial and in 1988 he was retried, convicted and sentenced to death a second time. This sentence was later commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The remains of Haraway’s body were found Jan. 20, 1986, at Gerty, in rural Hughes County.

Bill Peterson, who was the district attorney who prosecuted the case, said in a telephone interview with The Ada News Thursday:

“We had statements from them saying they had cut her right in the stomach. That statement is on videotape. You can’t find stab wounds in a skeleton and bones don’t burn. You can’t find bruises on bones, either.”

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