The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town


The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town by John Grisham

In small town Ada, Oklahoma; Ron Williamson was destined to become the next Micky Mantle. His only interests were baseball, beer, and girls. It was all he focused on as he barely graduated high school; decided to forgo college scholarships, and head off to the big leagues.

He ended up not making it to the big leagues, being sent to the minors to train; but Ron had no ambition enjoying his drink and women more.

Eventually he was cut and out of options returned home to Ada.

Ron started acting strange, suffering from mental illness, this not recognized at the time causing him to become a social pariah.

In 1982, a young cocktail waitress, Debra Sue Carter, was brutally murdered. Ron and his friend Dennis Fritz were arrested on lackluster testimony, more of a focus of people wanting to be rid of them as they disliked them.

Fritz was given life without parole and Williamson was given the death penalty. But when DNA testing that was developed and perfected in 1992, they later tested the hairs they found on the crime scene and where able to release the two on April 15, 1999.


Grisham follows the story from Ron’s childhood to his exoneration, but continual pariah in small town Ada.


Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was very well written and interesting, but also sad that these people stopped being objective and focused on having the evidence fit the suspect.

For more non-fiction, go to Ghost of the Hardy Boys

For more true crime stories, go to Cape May Court House: A Death in the Night

For more reviews, go to Death by Marriage

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