Representatives from the project said they believe Fontenot, who is serving a life sentence along with co-defendant Tommy Ward, is innocent and had a strong alibi for his whereabouts during the murder of Donna Denice Haraway, who disappeared from a convenience store in Ada in April 1984. Fontenot was first implicated by Ward and later confessed.
Tiffany Murphy, director of the Oklahoma Innocence Project, said Fontenot contacted them last year and asked for assistance. After an investigation, Murphy said they decided to take his case “because he’s actually innocent.”
In addition to the alibi, Murphy said the confession was coerced, and an eyewitness who placed Fontenot near the scene of the crime has since recanted.
The brief filed Wednesday in Pontotoc County seeks post-conviction relief in the case, and Murphy said the goal is Fontenot’s release and exoneration. The Pontotoc County District Attorney’s Office has 30 days to respond to the filing, Murphy said.