The Innocent Man
A gripping true-crime story of a shocking miscarriage of justice, from international bestselling thriller author John Grisham.
In the baseball draft of 1971, Ron Williamson was the first player chosen from Oklahoma. Signing with Oakland, he said goodbye to his small home town and left for California to pursue his dreams of 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 20 hours a day on her sofa.
In 1982, a 21 year-old cocktail waitress, Debra Sue Carter, was raped and murdered, and for five years the crime went unsolved. Finally, desperate for someone to blame, police came to suspect Ron Williamson and his friend Dennis Fritz. The two were finally arrested in 1987 and charged with 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.
But as Grisham methodically lays out, there was no case against him. Ron Williamson was wrongly condemned to die.
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.
In 2018, THE INNOCENT MAN was adapted by Netflix into a gripping six-part true crime series.