The Innocent Man documentary subject Thomas Ward is set to be released from prison after his sentence was vacated by a judge.
The six-part true crime Netflix series was released back in 2018, and features the case of Ward and Karl Fontenot, who were convicted for the kidnapping and murder of Donna Denice Haraway in 1984.
The pair were convicted despite no physical evidence tying them to the case, with Ward alleging that his confession was coerced by police. Ward’s attorneys also claimed that prosecutors suppressed exculpatory evidence during the trial.
According to the new court findings (via Entertainment Weekly), “material evidence withheld by the State as identified herein creates a reasonable probability the outcome of the trial would have been different given the burden of proof required for a conviction.”
Court documents say that police released hundreds of pages of documents last year after denying they existed, and through new evidence they discovered that “there were problems with the credibility of the State’s witnesses and the existence of witnesses that raised serious doubts as to the accuracy of witnesses identifying Ward as the guilty party.”
Fontenot was released from prison last year, though is pending a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals. Two of the documentary’s other subjects, Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz, were previously released after 11 years in prison.
Following the latest development, Ward’s legal team tweeted: “This is new info, and we’re trying to figure what this means right now. More to come.”
We do not know when Tommy will be released, and we don’t know how a possible appeal will affect this. We’re gathering more info
— Tommy Ward: The Innocent Man (@WardInnocentMan) December 19, 2020
“We do not know when Tommy will be released, and we don’t know how a possible appeal will affect this. We’re gathering more info,” they added.