Jim Bob Howard, Billy Charley and Floyd DeGraw are two men who grew up in Ada, Oklahoma, and are mentioned within Netflix’s The Innocent Men in the context of the Donna Denise Haraway murder.
The three men have never been considered to be official suspects in the Haraway investigation, and all three have since maintained their innocence to Netflix in The Innocent Man. However, investigative reporter AC Shilton and private investigator Dan Clark, as well as several witness affidavits uncovered by Netflix, have since suggested that the three men could all have been considered suspects in the Haraway investigation, for various reasons.
Currently, Howard and Charley are living in the midwest, and DeGraw is an inmate at a West Virginia prison. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Billy Charley Still Resides in the Ada, Oklahoma Area; Howard’s Location is Unknown
Donna Denise Haraway
Another Ada resident, Bobby Ross, said to Netflix that he had offered Howard and Charley some money one night when they were all younger, and that they had “knocked him out” once went outside. “I was unconscious til’ three days later,” he said.
Kim Byars, another Ada resident, said, “Billy Charley was a pretty scary guy.”
2. Billy Charley Was Cited by Multiple Witnesses to Be a Close Match to the Suspect Sketch in the Denise Haraway Kidnapping
Tommy Ward Confession Footage
“Billy Charley was the person that many believed matched one of the sketches of the suspects in the Denise Haraway case,” Clark said. Shilton also cited another piece of evidence in which a boy named David Yockey told police in a sworn affadavit that he knew both Tommy Ward and Billy Charley, and that the sketch closely matched Charley’s features. What’s more, he added, “Billy Charley-moreso than anyone I knew in the 1980s- was wild enough and mean enough to have kidnapped and killed Denice Haraway.”
Charley had been arrested on more than one occasion for violent crimes, including assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and assault and battery upon a police officer. Other offenses included possession of a controlled substance, a DUI, and leaving the scene of an accident, according to Oklahoma Court Records.
Charley also used his parents as an alibi on the night of Haraway’s disappearance; the truck that was suspected to have been used to kidnap Haraway was the same color and style of Charley’s truck.
On the phone, Ward said to Netflix, “I knew that they had mentioned Billy Charley being a suspect…but there was a conversation that Billy told me after I had seen him at McAlester [Penitentiary] where he told me that they had went down to the police whenever they had asked him to come in for questioning and that he had told them that he had been at home with his family all day. I remember him telling me that he had made a mistake He said that at the time of the disappearance that he was at Broadway Bar, drinking.”
What’s more, Clark told Shilton that although multiple people had confirmed to him that the police had interviewed Charley during the investigation, there was no proof or report that that had taken place.
3. In an Affidavit by an Anonymous Friend of Howard’s, He Claimed Howard Confessed to Shooting a ‘Young Female Clerk’
Karl Fontenot at the time of his arrest
In an affidavit shown on Netflix, a friend of Howard’s claimed that in September 2009, Howard and a man whose last name was “Stane” were drinking when Howard said he couldn’t return to Ada because of “what he had done there.”
The affidavit continues (and can be seen on the fifth episode, 29 minutes in), “He explained that he and two friends of his had done some robberies in Ada. During those robberies, they shot a young female clerk. His other two friends got in trouble for the murder but he did not.”
4. Both Jim Bob Howard & Billy Charley Are Videotaped Having Conversations With Johnny Daniels on The Innocent Man
Oklahoma State Prison SystemKarl Fontenot, 8/10/1964
Throughout episode four of The Innocent Man, Daniels has several conversations with both Howard and Charley. “Jim Bob Howard…is still just bumming around, doing nothing,” Johnny Daniels said. When he was asked to describe what Howard was like growing up, Daniels said, “I don’t think there’s much that [Howard] would want me to say on camera.”
At one point, Howard says to Daniels, “I got messed up with them lawyers and this sh*t, and I don’t want to mess with no people at all, know what I mean?”
He continued, “I don’t know nothing about nothing, know what I mean?”
In a separate instance on the phone, Charley said to Daniels, “My name is clear. I ain’t the goddamn one in prison…I get pissed, you know? If he done it, he done it, you get me?”
5. Floyd DeGraw Was an Ada, Oklahoma Man Who Was Convicted of Two Separate Rape Cases & One Murder
West Virginia Correctional FacilitiesFloyd DeGraw
MAN described DeGraw, another man who grew up in Ada at the time of the Haraway disappearance, as “a predator at that time.” MAN continues, “He had the wherewithal, mentally and physically, where he could have taken her and raped a young girl like that. I think it’s possible.”
DeGraw was notably picked up on a separate rape and kidnapping charge in the town of Canyon, Texas, two nights after the disappearance of Haraway. MAN notes that when police went through DeGraw’s car, they found two separate purses with ID’s of women from Ada. MAN also said that when he was questioned by police, he refused to answer any questions about the Haraway case.
DeGraw was convicted in Texas, then moved home to West Virginia where he was charged once more with raping a woman, this time also murdering her.
In a phone call with DeGraw from prison, he said to _____, “If I had anything to do with anything like that, I’d tell the police… I really ain’t got nothing to lose. What makes you think that those two guys out there didn’t do that?”
DeGraw continued, “If you are right [about Ward and Fontenot], then God bless you for getting them out and doing the right thing, but if you get them out and something else happens later on, then what’s going to happen? Just be for sure that you know they didn’t do it.”
According to West Virginia prison records, Floyd is currently incarcerated at West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, serving out a prison sentence for first-degree murder. He does not have a projected parole hearing date or release date.