crimes and consequences

EP54: Debbie Sue Carter & The Innocent Men

Ronald WilliamsonDebbie Sue Carter knew she was in trouble.  Someone was at her home at 2:00 am that made her feel uncomfortable enough to call her friend to come to get her.  Before her friend left, Debbie called her back and told her not to come over.  The next day Debbie was found raped and murdered.  She had been brutalized with a ketchup bottle and her killer had written messages all over her body and apartment. Two men, Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz were convicted of the murder.  Twelve years later, they were exonerated and her real killer was brought to justice.  Listen to find out who tortured, raped, and murdered Debbie Sue Carter.

Wrongful Convictions of Ronald Williamson and Dennis Fritz

Debbie Sue CarterDebbie Sue Carter

In 1982, 21-year old Debbie Carter had moved out of her mother Peggy’s house and into an apartment above a garage apartment about a block away in Ada Oklahoma. She was working three jobs to support herself and was thrilled to be out on her own. One of her jobs was as a bartender/waitress at the Coach Light Club, a local bar.

On the night of December 7, 1982, business at the Coach light club was slow.  As a result,  it closed early.  Debbie walked to her car and made conversation with a regular at the bar named Glen Gore.  Also in the parking lot were a few of Debbie’s friends, including two co-workers, Tommy Glover and  Gina Vietta.  Gina and Debbie’s other friends all decided to continue the party at Gina’s house and invited Debbie to come.  Debbie declined, stating that she wanted to go home instead.  Everyone said goodbye to Debbie and watched her leave in her car alone.

Later on, between 1:30 a.m. and 3:00 a.m., Gina received a  phone call from Debbie.  Debbie asked her to come pick her up because someone was at her apartment that made her feel uncomfortable. Gina asked Debbie who it was, but Debbie did not immediately respond. Instead, she told  Gina to “hold on.”  Gina then heard muffled noises over the phone. She told Debbie Carter that she was on her way to come get her.   However, before Gina could leave, Debbie called her back. She told Gina that she had changed her mind and decided to stay home. When Gina again asked who was there at her apartment Debbie changed the subject.  She asked Gina to give her a wake-up call in the morning so Debbie didn’t oversleep and end up being late for work. 

Debbie Sue Carter’s Desecrated Body

The next morning, at approximately 11:20 a.m., Donna Johnson, a childhood friend of Debbie’s, had decided to stop by Debbie’s apartment.  She wanted to see if Debbie wanted to have some lunch.   As she walked up the flight of steps to the front door, she stepped in broken glass on the landing. The glass appeared to have come from the window in the wooden framed front door.  The screen door to Debbie’s apartment was wide open and the front door was unlocked.   Donna could hear the radio playing loudly inside.  She knocked on the door and then let herself in when no one answered. 

Donna entered Debbie Carter’s apartment.  Immediately, she knew something was wrong. Written on Debbie’s Formica kitchen table were the words “don’t try and find us or else.”   She walked into the bedroom and saw Debbie lying on the floor dead. Debbie Carter had been brutally raped and murdered.  Her killer or killers had written on her body in ketchup.  In addition, they wrote on her wall in nail polish.  Debbie’s murder went unsolved for years.  However, police suspected two local drunks, Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz murdered Debbie Carter.

Ron Williamson & Dennis Fritz

In 1986, the police got a break in the case.  They eventually arrested Ronald Williamson and Dennis Fritz for the murder of Debbie Sue Carter.  They used hair analysis and witness statements against Ronald Williamson and Dennis Fritz.  As a result, both men were found guilty of Debbie’s murder.  Ron Williamson was sentenced to death.  Dennis Fritz escaped the death penalty by a vote of 11 to 1, and was sentenced to life. 12 years after Dennis Fritz and Ron Williamson were convicted, DNA testing on the crime scene evidence of Debbie Carter’s murder came back.

Ron Williamson Dennis Fritz

None of the evidence matched Dennis Fritz and Ron Williamson.  Instead, the DNA was linked to one of the witnesses who helped put the two men away for the crime.

Debbie Sue Carter’s real killer was a violent man named Glen Gore.  Find out the details of the murder and how Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz nearly lost their lives for a crime they didn’t commit.

Glen Gore
Glen Gore

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