The Oklahoma inmate chronicled in the Netflix docu-series “The Innocent Man” is now on the path to potential freedom.
Judge James Payne of Muskogee, Oklahoma ruled there was reasonable doubt that Karl Fontenot was the man that kidnapped and killed Ada convenience store clerk Denice Haraway in 1984.
The state has 120 days to grant Fontenot a new trial or release him permanently.
Fontenot’s case was the focus of the John Grisham book The Innocent Man and a later Netflix documentary series by the same name.
In Payne’s opinion filed Wednesday, he found that Fontenot’s mental illnesses raised serious questions about the validity of his uncorroborated confession. Fontenot’s account of what happened came from a dream he says he had about the killing.
An Oklahoma attorney general spokesman says the judge’s order is still being reviewed.