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3.5 stars In this non fiction book John Grisham tells the shocking and disheartening story of two men who were wrongfully convicted of rape and murder in Oklahoma.Author John Grisham Ron Williamson, born in 1953, grew up in a loving Christian family in Ada, Oklahoma He was a star on his high school baseball team and played for several professional minor league teams, hoping to make it to the majors Ron Williamson on his high school baseball teamRon Williamson played minor league baseballInjuries and health problems shattered these dreams however, and a short unsuccessful marriage added to Ron s woes By his mid 20s Ron was back in Ada, carousing, drinking heavily, philandering, and starting to show signs of mental illness At about this time he became friends with Dennis Fritz, who became his partying buddy.Ron WilliamsonDennis FritzThen in 1982 a young woman named Debbie Carter was brutally raped and murdered in her apartment in Ada Debbie CarterThe police did a less than thorough investigation and in a major instance of bungling gave a pass to Glen Gore, who had been harassing Debbie and was known to be violent toward women It turns out the policeor less ignored Glen as a suspect because a few cops were doing drug deals with Glen at the time Glen GoreIn any case the investigation dragged on and finally, in 1988, Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz were arrested and charged with the rape and murder of Debbie Carter There was no credible physical evidence against the men but prosecutor Bill Peterson lined up and coached a series of mendacious jailhouse snitches which resulted in convictions Mug shot of Ron WilliamsonProsecutor Bill PetersonLaw enforcement individuals manipulated evidence and witnesses to get convictions Dennis was sentenced to life in prison and Ron was given the death penalty Grisham gives a detailed account of the investigation and a play by play description of the trials, and it s frightening to see the lengths Peterson and the police would go to to secure confessions and convictions Grisham then details Ron s years on death row as his lawyers file appeal after appeal By this time Ron was severely mentally ill as well as as frustrated and depressed by his wrongful conviction Moreover, death row was located in an old prison facility that was boiling in summer and freezing in winter, with nasty guards who delighted in tormenting disturbed Ron.Oklahoma State PenitentiaryDeath RowRon Williamson s mental health deteriorated in prisonRon Williamson aged prematurely in prisonTo cut to the chase twelve years after Ron and Dennis s convictions DNA evidence showed that the imprisoned men were innocent and that Glen Gore was guilty Ron and Dennis were released from prison but DA Peterson in a major demonstration of stubborn hubris refused to apologize In fact, he indicated that he still thought of the two men as suspects and might even retry them if he foundevidence Of course this preyed on Ron s already troubled mind Nevertheless, six years later Gore was finally convicted of Pamela s murder Dennis Fritz was exoneratedRon Williamson was freedGlen Gore was convictedThe book is interesting and informativebut also sad and disheartening I felt angry that the Ada police and DA Peterson were not held to account for their outrageous behavior In fact a google search revealed that Peterson tried to sue Grisham and other people who wrote books about the case, claiming they libelled him as if However, Peterson was routinely unsuccessful with these lawsuits.On the negative side the book is overly long and goes into too much detail about every aspect of Ron s life Grisham details all of Ron s childhood teen sports he played baseball and basketball his antics to get his parents and sister to pay for nice clothes, a car, and expensive sports camps Ron s many unsuccessful experiences with minor league baseball teams his injuries and rehabilitations Ron s bar hopping and picking up women his horrible years on death row the round of talk shows and celebrations when Ron and Dennis are released from prison and finally Ron s ongoing physical decline and eventual death in a nursing home It s just a little too much.Still, this cautionary tale about justice gone wrong is worth reading and instructive.You can follow my reviews at I always feel a little guilty when starting a Grisham book as I know I will still be reading ten hours laterbut at least this one is a true story so I feel like I learned something.The author is trying to shine a light on potential miscarriages of justice in America specifically the small town of Ada, Oklahoma those in prison and on death row who really shouldn t be there They end up there for all manner of reasons corrupt cops, ambitious prosecutors, judges who are too focused on retirement or reputation, snitches willing to lie on oath, or maybe even innocent people just being in the wrong place at the wrong time At least one of the men wrongly convicted believed that his coerced confession wouldn t matter because the police would get to the truth He had placed his faith in the criminal justice system, it let him down.The story is sad but believable As always, it is a well written account that kept me reading until the last page Being non fiction, it is also well researched the author spent a lot of time with many of those involved in these cases and investigated the culture of small town Oklahoma The story focuses on two men convicted of the rape and murder of a 21 year old waitress in 1982 The cases are linked to other possible innocents in jail All of the cases covered are compelling I hope that some progress is being made on those who still languish in prison.I always find Grisham s stance on faith issues a little confusing He often includes strong Gospel statements referring to salvation by faith in Jesus in his books and refers to himself as a Christian However, he also states that his faith is a private matter that he keeps to himself How can a real Christian think it is okay to keep their faith to themself, especially one with the huge platform that he has This book has only a little bad language There is some violence and some graphic details of the crime but it is factual rather than sensational There are also some details about the sexual aspects of the crime but again it is factual.I enjoy Grisham s books and will no doubt readof them and probably re read those that I have read in the past To find a non fiction book by Grisham was a nice surprise and I m glad I read it I hope that one day Grisham will take a clearer public stand on faith issues, choosing God over popularity success The Innocent Man Murder and Injustice in a Smalltown, John GrishamThe Innocent Man Murder and Injustice in a Small Town is a 2006 true crime book by John Grisham The book tells the story of Ronald Ron Keith Williamson of Ada, Oklahoma, a former minor league baseball player who was wrongly convicted in 1988 of the rape and murder of Debra Sue Carter in Ada and was sentenced to death After serving 11 years on death row, he was exonerated by DNA evidence and other material introduced by the Innocence Project and was released in 1999 2010 1387 604 9789642953113 20 . I preface this review by saying that John Grisham is one of my favorite authors of all time Despite that, this was possible the worst book I have ever forced myself to finish I finished it only because it was a Grisham novel, but it was downright awful It is my understanding that this was Grisham s first non fiction book It is his research and retelling of a man who is wrongly convicted of murder and put on death row The book reads like a poorly written legal memo with insane amounts of unnecessary detail I was utterly disappointed and would warn anyone who loves Grisham not to read this book because it may ruin your opinion of a great author. ( Free ) ♌ The Innocent Man ☤ John Grisham S First Work Of Nonfiction, An Exploration Of Small Town Justice Gone Terribly Awry, Is His Most Extraordinary Legal Thriller YetIn The Major League Draft Of , The First Player Chosen From The State Of Oklahoma Was Ron Williamson When He Signed With The Oakland A S, He Said Goodbye To His Hometown Of Ada And Left To Pursue His Dreams Of Big League Glory Six Years Later He Was Back, His Dreams Broken By A Bad Arm And Bad Habits Drinking, Drugs, And Women He Began To Show Signs Of Mental Illness Unable To Keep A Job, He Moved In With His Mother And Slept Twenty Hours A Day On Her Sofa In , AYear Old Cocktail Waitress In Ada Named Debra Sue Carter Was Raped And Murdered, And For Five Years The Police Could Not Solve The Crime For Reasons That Were Never Clear, They Suspected Ron Williamson And His Friend Dennis Fritz The Two Were Finally Arrested InAnd Charged With Capital Murder With No Physical Evidence, The Prosecution S Case Was Built On Junk Science And The Testimony Of Jailhouse Snitches And Convicts Dennis Fritz Was Found Guilty And Given A Life Sentence Ron Williamson Was Sent To Death Row If You Believe That In America You Are Innocent Until Proven Guilty, This Book Will Shock You If You Believe In The Death Penalty, This Book Will Disturb You If You Believe The Criminal Justice System Is Fair, This Book Will Infuriate You This is John Grisham s first Non Ficiion It focuses on a young athlete wrongly convicted of a crime he did not commit.It is a scathing look at our criminal justice system and a story of sadness, tragedy and gross incompetence It is also quite long and took me a great deal of time to finish but is very well written I always love Grisham s work and this book, although tough to follow at times and very tragic, is poignant because of its reality Unlike the characters in Grisam s fiction novels, of which there are many, this actually happened.A searing and disturbing read. The pull of this story is the fact that it is not fiction The book was tagged as something every American should read..but this is not happening only across the USA It is a very sad fact that applies globally After I ve read this, I am left with a couple of thoughts about law enforcement personnel who would go to extreme measures to solve a case even at the expense of prosecuting the non guilty can they really be that bad to the core, or are they just so much in a hurry to resolve a case, that even a half baked investigation will do These questions I ask are not only for the ones doing the investigation it transcends to the prosecution, to the highest court, and even to the defense lawyers as well it s the whole system In the end, Ron got to really rest, and I pray that he was really able to do just thatFor Dennis Fritz, I am glad that he was able to bounce back. Jau ne kart min jau, jog esu pametusi galv d l true crime reali nusikaltim laid ir knyg U sienyje j yra daug ir visokiausi , o lietuvi kai, deja, n ra gausyb s Kuomet ra iau apie vien toki Truman Capote altakrauji kai , maniau, kad ji yra vienintel io anro lietuvi ka Ta iau greitai gavau komentar , jog yra dar viena John Grisham Nekaltasis I kart bibliotekoje j susiradau Du zuikiai vienu viu Pirma pa intis su John Grisham k ryba ir dar viena retenyb netik tai rasta m gstamo anro knyga.John Grisham apra o tikrai ne tik tin realiam gyvenime nutikusi istorij 1983 metais, savo pa ios namuose, Ados miestelyje, iauriai nu udoma Debra Sju Karter Kur laik policijai nesiseka rasti joki nusikaltimo p dsak , ta iau pra jus kuriam laikui atsakingi asmenys randa atpirkimo o ius Kitaip pasakyti ir negaliu Ronas Viljamsonas mieste inomas jaunas, i vaizdus vyras, kadaise gars j s perspektyvia beisbolininko karjera Patyrus kelet nes kmi , jo gyvenimas m ristis emyn Vyras niko alkohol , kvai alus ir itin pam go moter draugij Partneres jis keisdavo kone kasnakt, da nai rytais nieko neatsimindamas Vien toki i gertuvi nakt jis susipa ino su Denisu Fricu ir juodu vis da niau laik leisdavo kartu B tent ie du vyrai buvo apkaltinti Debros Sju Karter nu udymu be joki reali kal i ir rodym Remiantis ma daug ta informacij koki a jums pateikiau apra ydama tariamuosius Ronas ir Fricas buvo visi kai nekalti, o kal jime pras d jo 11 met J s tik sivaizduokit kokie jausmai ir emocijos tur jo juos kamuoti Visi kas bevilti kumas, panika, siaubas Teis saugos sistema auk iausias teisingumo garantas nuteis juos ir neb ra nei kur kreiptis, nei ko pra yti pagalbos Negana to, Ronas buvo nuteistas mirties bausme, o Denisas kal ti iki gyvos galvos D ka rank nenuleidusi advokat , ma iusi policijos aplaidum ir teismuose pateikt absurdi k liudijim tyr jas tyr s rast plauk Debros bute pasako jog plaukas gal t b ti Rono Lygiai taip pat ir negal t , bet po 11 met vyrai buvo i leisti, o tikrasis udikas pasodintas u grot Kalbant apie j Glenas Goras buvo gerai inomas policijai, j nuolat suimdavo u ma esnius ar didesnius nusi engimus Nu udymo nakt jis buvo pasteb tas su Debra, ta iau niekada nebuvo apklaustas, i jo nebuvo paimti m giniai ir jis liudijo prie Ron ir Denis Neabsurdi ka Nors prie pradedant skaityti Nekalt j inai kas apie k ir kuo baigsis, tai n ra istorijos esm Grisham atliko mil ini k darb tikrai didesn nei policija tirdama Debros nu udym i nagrin j s vis byl , po kaulel i narst s teismo procesus, atskleid s psichologinius Rono ir Deniso portretus Autorius neband j vaizduoti nekaltu iais gerie iais dr b faktus akis Taip, jie nebuvo ventieji, bet nebuvo ir udikai Skaitant i piktumo net rankos dreb jo kaip toks aplaidumas ir neprofesionalumas gali fig ruoti teisme ir policijoje, kai j rankose realiai moni gyvyb s ir likimai 11 prarast met 11 met gyvenant mintimis, jog tau bus vykdyta mirties bausm A negaliu ir nenoriu sivaizduoti kaip reik jo tai i tverti Kaip nei prot ti Kaip tai pakelti eimos nariams Visi kai berg d iai sugriauti jaun moni gyvenimai Taip, jie gavo dideles pinigines i mokas d l teismo klaidos, bet kas i to Prie pagrindin s istorijos ra ytojas pateikia daug i samios ir domios fonin s informacijos apie mirties bausm , budelius ir pat proces Niekad ne sivaizdavau nei kas pasiry ta tokiam darbui, nei kaip tie mon s atsiranda I knygos su inojau, kad tai be galo slaptintas ir konfidencialus procesas Kalb damas apie mirties bausm Grisham pateikia domios statistikos ir velniai, nei sipl sdamas palie ia humani kumo tem ir klausia ar tikrai mes turim teis spr sti kam gyventi, o kam mirti sp dingai detaliai, i samiai ir domiai apra yta istorij apie kuri , jie ne inotume tiesos, sakytume taip gyvenime neb na. If you re going to read this, don t stop there Go online and read Bill Petersen s account as well It s only fair And after all, fair is what this book is all about, right Innocent Man alternates between a compelling account of a murder investigation and a tedious account of a man s stupidity petty criminal activity insanity I had great respect for John Grisham until I read both this book and responses to the book by Ada prosecutor Bill Petersen, who has legal documents to back up his claims that Grisham ignored key facts in the case I assume he did this to make his bookcompelling, but I felt he was dishonest in his portrayal of the facts , and because of that this book isn t entirely non fiction.I still respect Grisham s writing ability, and will continue to enjoy his crime law novels, but I honestly feel he unjustifiably did a great disservice to Petersen and the other investigators on the case in order to strengthen his argument that Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz were railroaded by corrupt officials Despite Grisham s claims in the novel, and while there was indeed an injustice done to Williamson and Fritz, the facts in the case show that they were not viciously prosecuted by officials who refused to see the truth It s just not true. It should be noted that this book should be titled The Innocent MEN, since it describes 2 cases, each involving 2 men, 4 men altogether We have the all too common and dastardly scenario of the DA s office and local police conspiring to win the case at all costs, fudging, manipulating, cheating, and tampering state s evidence, regardless of truth and justice But for me, such behavior on the part of law enforcement authorities is not the shocking aspect of these tragic chronicles, but the decisions made by the juries which led to the convictions The jury of your peers is supposed to be the strength of the US justice system, and here we see the horrible consequences when it fails to do its job Unfortunately, this element was not stressed enough in the book It is apparent that the residents of this locale, in this case the rural town of Ada in the conservative state of Oklahoma, were unduly influenced by biblical notions of vengeful justice, preventing them from conducting aimpartial consideration of the reasonable doubt that was present in all of these cases.Of course, the significance of these trials is bolstered by the fact that they were capital murder cases, with the death penalty looming in the background, and as any true Grisham fan knows, capital punishment is one of the issues that disturbs Mr Grisham see The Chamber , and which no doubt served as the main inspiration for him to get these stories out there.I also learned of the heroic attempts of defense lawyer Barry Scheck, founder and chief advocate of the Innocence Project, dedicated to the utilization of DNA evidence as a means to exculpate individuals of crimes for which they were wrongfully convicted 362 wrongful convictions overturned as of 2019 Apparently Mr Scheck was not just a showboating attorney in the O.J Simpson trial.This book should be required reading for all secondary schools, students that someday will form the crop of potential future jurors.