The Innocent Man by John Grisham

February 9, 2009
By
John Grisham's first non-fiction work, The Innocent Man, is an extremely compelling story of a man that experienced many injustices in our legal system throughout his life. Ron aka 'Ronnie' Williamson grew up in a good Christian home in the small town of Ada, Oklahoma. He was an excellent baseball player and aspired to be the next Mickey Mantle. Unfortunately, Ron got caught up in sex, drugs, and alcohol and watched his baseball dreams slip away. He led a fairly average life after that until one night a woman named Debbie Carter was raped and murdered in her apartment. Five years later, Ron and his old drinking buddy Dennis Fritz were hauled into the Ada police station in handcuffs and accused of raping and murdering her. Neither of the men had ever even met Debbie Carter. A man by the name of Glen Gore accused them in an attempt to clear his name and cover his tracks. Although the police had no real evidence against the men, they somehow convinced court after court that they were guilty. All of the juries, judges, and lawyers that saw this case through failed to realize the injustice that was taking place. No matter what, the men kept on fighting to prove their innocence.

I have never read such a detailed novel. Grisham researched every event of the trials and every character and their backgrounds that came along the way. He does an excellent job of proving that these men were actually innocent by showing all of the injustices that went on in the courtroom. Having absolutely no evidence, two completely innocent men were sentenced to life in prison and eventually the death penalty. Throughout the process, so many heads were turned from the lies that were sprouting from mere speculation. It was extremely well written and really showed how unjust the legal system can be. The extreme detail and knowledge that was put into the novel really captures the characters' feelings as the story progresses. The police were so convinced that the two men were guilty, that they did not even bother to look into other suspects or consider the fact that there was a possibility that Ron and Dennis were innocent. No, once they had their hearts set, there was no turning back. Superbly written and completely factual, The Innocent Man was an excellent read from an award winning murder mystery writer.





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