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Oklahoma District Attorney Bill Peterson to retire

Oklahoma District Attorney Bill Peterson to retire

After 28 years as district attorney, William N. “Bill” Peterson, is retiring. The DA for the 22nd district of Oklahoma, which includes Pontotoc, Seminole and Hughes counties, announced Friday afternoon he plans to retire Jan. 1, 2008.

“It is something I’ve been thinking about for a while and came to the conclusion that it is time,” he said. “I am 64 years old and came to the realization it’s time to go to another phase in my life.”

Peterson said he and his wife, Dean, plan to travel and spend more time with their grandchildren. Their oldest grandchild is 8 and involved in various sports. “If the others are as active as the oldest, we are going to be very busy,” Peterson said.

During Peterson’s career several high profile murder cases have been tried. One gained national media attention in 1999 when DNA testing exonerated two men imprisoned for the 1982 brutal murder of Debra Sue Carter in Ada. Peterson received harsh criticism for his role in prosecuting Dennis Fritz and Ron Williamson for Carter’s murder.

Peterson said controversy surrounding John Grisham’s book, “The Innocent Man,” was only one of many things he and his wife considered when discussing retirement. “I would be lying if I said that it didn’t,” he said. However, Peterson stressed it wasn’t a major factor in his decision to retire.

Grisham presented Peterson in a less than favorable light in his first non-fiction book, “The Innocent Man,” published in 2006.

The book was based on Ron Williamson’s life and events surrounding the trial that sent him to prison for Carter’s murder. Peterson and former Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation agent Gary Rogers have filed a lawsuit against Grisham and Doubleday Dell Publishing Group in Federal Court for libel and slander.

“I have always sought to seek the truth in charging of crimes and was willing to endure the consequences of those decisions. The job of a prosecutor is to make a charging decision based on provable facts of any case and to do what is right.”

“After 28 years as a prosecutor it is time to pass this responsibility to someone else,” he said.

Source: AdaEveningNews.com

Videos: KXII

17 Comments

  • November 29, 2007 at 6:28 PM Jim J

    Peterson SHOULD retire… directly to the very same Death Row he has railroaded others to. Maybe his cellmates should be the crooked cops who started the process of framing Fritz/Williamson. I will never look at a cop or a prosecutor in the same way again…they are not to be trusted. They will kill you legally if they can.

  • June 8, 2008 at 8:17 AM nikiny

    Yes,even in my home land:Nigeria,I can never trust the Police cause they lie and kill innocent people,the families of this people nevr get justice.So many cases of extrajudicial killing gone unnoticed.I can never,never,ever,trust the Nigerian Police and it’s judicial system.

  • July 1, 2008 at 6:31 PM carl smith

    Good ridance to an empty suit of a human being. John Grishom did the world a favor by exposing this buffoon.

  • August 12, 2008 at 8:46 PM candace

    Peterson should be charged for sending 2 innocent men to jail.He should have to live and die on death row. But first he should have to pay retribution to them from his own monies.

  • May 28, 2009 at 12:02 PM Duquenne

    Mon anglais est trop mauvais et je prends la liberté de vous adresser ce message en français.
    Merci de votre compréhension.
    Je viens de lire “L’accusé” titre français pour “The Innocent man”.
    J’ai lu nombre de vos livres et je les ai toujours énormément appréciés. Mais The Innocent man est évidemment à part car on n’est plus dans la fiction
    The Innocent man m’a bouleversé et aussi terrifié. Je vous félicite de tout coeur de l’avoir écrit et aussi de vous être engagé personnellement aux côtés de Dennis Fritz.
    On ne peut imaginer que dans un Etat de droit des hommes tels que le procureur Peterson aient pu conserver leur fonction après que leur forfaiture ait été révélée.
    Quel long chemin que celui de la justice … merci et bravo pour votre combat.
    Robert Duquenne

  • June 9, 2009 at 3:45 PM Kristina

    Absolutely shocked at the horrible behavior of this man! Why isn’t he standing trial for railroading 2 innocent men and robbing them of years of their lives. He should go to jail, see how THAT feels. I hope he has no rest in his retirement.

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  • August 5, 2009 at 5:49 PM Robin Parmenter

    Dear Mr Grisham,

    Thank you so much for exposing the truth about the fabricated convictions of Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz in your book “The Innocent Man”. It is a fascinating book to read and frankly, very scary, for if a small town American cannot expect reasonable justice and a search for the truth “beyond reasonable doubt” in his murder trial in such a liberated country as the USA, where are we going in the world, and what hope is there for our children in the future?
    No wonder you support the “Innocence Project” and your book will no doubt cause other questions to be asked. But you also speak of the other two men, Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot, wrongfully convicted for the murder of Denice Haraway – can nothing be done to reopen their case and hold a fair trial the second time around , now that you have done so much research on their case also?

    Either way, I find it disgraceful that the DA at the time, Mr Peterson, could not even utter an apology at the second trial of Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz, first to the Stillwell and Carter families, and second to the defendants and their families, for all the suffering and heartbreak he was responsible for causing them all, in the name of his misguided sense of justice.
    In France one is “guilty until proven innocent” according to the Napoleonic code, but in the UK and the USA, one is “innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt”, and in the cases you mention in your book, it is difficult to understand that neither the Judges or Jury could see that there was only circumstantial evidence at best with which they should decide to sentence the defendants to death or life imprisonment.
    After reading your book how can any of the prosecution or Judges and Jury sleep at night, after sending innocent men to prison?
    Good luck with your research and to the Innocence Project for future retrials and exonerations. Finally, let us not forget the murdered girls, and may their souls rest in peace.

    Robin P., UK

  • November 11, 2009 at 11:09 AM Grant MacLeod

    Perhaps one day science can prove Peterson’s DNA is consistent of an individual with a flawed, attention getting ego.

    After reviewing John Grisham’s “circumstantial” evidence with respect to DA Bill Peterson’s past practices and actions,

    To the charges of:
    Liar…Guilty
    Conniving….Guilty
    Cheater….Guilty
    Scumbag…..Guilty
    Egomaniac….Guilty
    Humility….Not Proven
    Competent District Attorney…Not Proven

    Good riddance, enjoy the rest of your miserable life.

  • December 5, 2009 at 9:56 PM Marion

    I just read the book, Innocent Man, I am truly shocked this could happen here in the United States. Not only the injustice but the horrible treatment of a mentally ill person. I want to know how Mr. Peterson lives with what he has done.

  • December 14, 2009 at 11:04 PM John McCrosson

    I’ve just read both “The Innocent Man” and Bill Peterson’s evidence-based reply on his website. I’m shocked and disgusted at John Grisham’s poor, cavalier attitude to research.

    I also question whether any of the above folks who have left comments have bothered to read Peterson’s response. I think not – shame on you then for presuming guilt based on Grisham’s word only! Read now: http://www.billpetersondistrictattorney.com

    Yes, I know I’m wasting my time leaving this comment since there is little to no chance of publication but, I’ll allow for the fact that I could be misjudging you.

    John McCrosson
    Scottish expat in Thailand

  • December 22, 2009 at 2:43 PM Kerry

    I wonder if Bill Peterson ever remains awake at night wondering if his loved ones (for example, his oldest grandchild) will be the beneficiary of opportunity and fair treatment during their lifetime.

  • January 11, 2010 at 5:03 PM Benjamin Kete

    I’ve been reading the book on ‘The Innocent Man’ by John Grisham….its really amazing to see how corrupted cops and attorney’s are sometimes…maybe its because they want to solve the puzzle real quick by choosing any convicts around that already had done time in prison…..and to Mr.Peterson, why don’t you jump of a bridge with all your scums of rotten cops working with you….and all those snitches who you though could pull up some strings which they failed….whatever we do or whoever we suspect or convict, and no matter how corrupted some people are, THE TRUTH WILL PREVAIL AND JUSTICE WILL BE SERVED….God Help Us All

  • March 10, 2010 at 5:07 PM Phil Runyan

    After I read an innocent man, I was shocked at how a prosecutor can distort the truth..I have just completed Dennis Fritz’s book, “Journey Toward Justice” and am overwhelmed and outraged at how Mr Peterson went after Ron Williams and Dennis Fritz, all for the sake of closing a case. What a shameful travesty of Justice and a terrible loss for the wrongfully convicted.

  • March 16, 2010 at 5:59 PM Robert L. Clements

    I have been an avid reader about history and the criminal justice system. I have never read anything as appalling as “The Innocent Man”. I then decided to Google the topic and got extremely MAD! How in Hell does this happen. I have seen injustice and read about it but………………..

    I hope Peterson has a hard time sleeping at night and that the good people of Oklahoma will not let him alone. Who did he think he was?

  • April 1, 2010 at 7:55 AM Chris

    Bill Peterson deserves everything that was done to Ron Williamson. May God have mercy on his dark and arrogant soul.

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