Analysis of John Grisham's 'The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town'

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Injustice in the Innocent Man John Grisham's The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town is the nonfiction retelling of a 1982 case involving the rape and murder of a 21-year old cocktail waitress in Ada named Debra Sue Carter. For over five years the police were unable to solve the crime. They named Ron Williamson and his friend Dennis Fritz were eventually arrested in 1987 and charged with capital murder. In the absence of physical evidence, the prosecution's case was paper thin and relied on the testimony of less than credible characters (i.e., convicts and jailhouse snitches). Dennis Fritz was found guilty and given a life sentence. Ron Williamson was sent to death row. Both convictions were eventually overturned. What is most interesting about this story is that it exposes a flawed justice system. The police did a reasonably good job of investigating the murder scene, but right away they focused their attention on two men without solid evidence. The obvious suspect would have been the last person seen alive with the victim, someone who knew the victim and thus could gain access easily to her apartment, and definitely someone who had argued with the victim the night she was murdered (Thornburgh 28). There were many valid clues pointing to other suspects. Instead, the police convinced themselves early on that Ron Williamson was their killer. After five years when they were unable to solve the crime, and with pressure mounting, they pieced together a paper

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