Support the news
When I was waiting, even to go to the trial, I would pray, 'Please Lord, get me out of here. You know I don't belong here, I didn't do this.' And I knew in my heart that it was going to happen, that I would be released. Just every now and then, I would ask the Lord, 'Well, you can kind of hurry up a little bit now, just a little bit, maybe?'Dennis Fritz
Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
In 1982, Dennis Fritz and Ron Williamson were convicted of a brutal rape and murder in a small town in Oklahoma. The victim was 21-year-old Debra Sue Carter, a waitress at the Coachlight Club. Williamson and Fritz each spent more than 11 years in prison for a crime that DNA evidence later proved they did not commit.
Before he went to prison, Fritz was raising his then-12-year-old daughter Elizabeth, alone. He decided she shouldn't visit him in prison, because he sensed she was scared. But, Fritz says, he knew his daughter loved him, and believed in his innocence.
Elizabeth was 24 when Fritz got out, and he remembers the moment they saw each other in the visiting room of the county jail, where he'd been transferred prior to his release.
"I was a little nervous, and I'm sure, well, she was too," Fritz tells Weekend Edition host Rachel Martin. "She was just a beautiful, radiant woman ... and my mother and my aunt were there, and we just held onto each other so tight, and we all cried a big pool of tears on the floor."
The same DNA evidence that turned over Fritz and Williamson's convictions incriminated another man, Glen Gore, who was later found guilty for the crimes.
Join Our Sunday Conversation
Do exonerations with DNA evidence make you distrust the criminal justice system, or trust it more?Tell us on Weekend Edition's Facebook page or in the comment section below.
Support the news