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National Letter Writing Month: A Letter from Dennis Fritz

By Carlita Salazar

On April 15, 1999, Dennis Fritz and co-defendant Ron Williamson were exonerated of murder and freed from prison in Oklahoma based on DNA evidence. Eleven years prior, Fritz and Williamson had been wrongly convicted, in Pontotoc County of the murder of a 21-year-old woman whose body had been found six years earlier. Fritz’s conviction was based on the testimony of a forensic analyst who said that 11 pubic hairs and two head hairs from the crime scene were “consistent” with Fritz’s hair. “This means they match, if you want it in one word,” the analyst testified. Fritz was sentenced to life in prison. Williamson was sent to death row; at one point, he came within five days of execution. Fritz reached out to the Innocence Project for help in 1996.

After their release, Williamson and Fritz filed a civil lawsuit against the Pontotoc County district attorney and others, which was settled for an undisclosed amount of money.

Sadly, on December 4, 2004, Williamson died, surrounded by his family. He had recently been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver.

“I have been wrongly incarcerated for the last (9) years for a murder and rape charge that I know absolutely nothing about.” Dennis Fritz

Williamson and Fritz’s case is the subject for John Grisham’s first nonfiction book, The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town, which was published in 2006 and was a bestseller.

As part of the Innocence Project’s participation in National Letter Writing Letter Month, and to celebrate the anniversary of Fritz’s and Williamson’s day of exoneration, today we’re sharing the first letter that Fritz wrote to the Innocence Project requesting our assistance in his case.

Fritz Letter

 

9 Comments

  1. Laulita Horton

    Hello,
    I have a family member who have been incarsarated for 23 years. She was only 15 at the time of her arrest. She is looking for help in obtaining her release. She was arrested in 1993. Is there an address that she can use to contact the innocence project through mail or the through the Jpay system? Her Jpay is Koreemah Hanifa at the state of Georgia

  2. Theresa Trujillo

    Hello my Son is being wrongfully accused. We know he is innocent this case is modtly revenge and jealously by a family member a family feud that has been going on for too long this time it went to far

  3. Trina Daniels

    My brother is charged with wrongful rape charge..19 years ago..but it came to 2017 courts on this wrongful set.up charge by his ex.girlfriend..
    Discovery package of 1998 full of lies.. She changing her lies..in 1998 and 2017 in court.. My brother.court appointed lawyer did not help him at all… They just locks up people quick to shut up the .cases.. Please help him.. Thank you.

  4. Lee Bigham

    My name is lee I’m 72 year old.lm was charge in 2000
    I plead guiltily reason I didn’t want my daugher at time 8 years old to go threw the courts. She is now 28 in her own words dad you never touch me! Can’t afford a lawyer plus I’m retired! Every 3 months I have to go police reason I’m on Michigan sex offender registration

  5. Lucinda McClain

    Gm
    I have a son that did a year in jail for a young women that accuse him of rap kidnap burglary and more he never ever seen her in his life and she claim she seen him around drinking beer with guys my son not a beer drinker and never hung out with a bunch of guys we from Connecticut and bearly knows anyone hear we will like to take actions against her

  6. Bryan Goode

    my son Bryan Christopher Goode has been wrongfuly put in prison and i am 100 per cent disabled from military service and live on a fixed income. If you can free my son before he gets mentaly changed from being in prison and can spend the rest of his life with his daughter that he missed seeing grow up would be great! you can contact my son at Bryan C. Goode V04094,baker re-entry center,17128 U S hwy. 90 west,Sanderson, fl.32087. His memory is short because of the beating that he took and was hospitalized for, please help my son. his memory has been affected and it is hard for him to remember. Please write to him so that he can write back.

  7. Jose Pena

    I have a brother that was wrongfully convicted of murder he was 18 at the time, 32 years old now he was sentens 70 year under a he said she said witnesses they said he told them he did it . The judge also allow a different murder to be used against him and after they convictid him the very next day they drop the other case because there was no evidence to convict him for it but it was used agains him. In my eyes & family’s he was railroaded by the court system my family needs help.

  8. David Cordero

    Just today I watched “The Innocent Man” on Netflix. Wow what a mind blowing documentary. I went from feeling horrified, mad a disgusted at horrible crimes that were committed to horrified, mad and disgusted at the way evidence was handled in the cases.

    I wish I could say I was surprised that this injustice happens at all. It’s scary to think that this could happen to anyone.

    I’m glad The Innocence Project is around to take on these types of cases.

    Thank you

  9. Robin Howard

    My son has been wrongfully accused of murder. He just was charge 30 days now.

    Are we entitled to come forth to the Innocence Project. My son is innocent.

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