Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Tuesday May 21, 2024
Tuesday May 21, 2024

48-year nightmare ends: Innocent man cleared of murder after decades behind bars



Oklahoma’s longest wrongful imprisonment saga unravels as Glynn Simmons declared actually innocent

In a staggering turn of events, Glynn Simmons, a 71-year-old Oklahoma man, has finally been vindicated after spending a staggering 48 years behind bars for a murder he did not commit.

Simmons, along with co-defendant Don Roberts, found themselves convicted in 1975 for the December 1974 murder of Carolyn Sue Rogers during a liquor store robbery in Edmond. Originally sentenced to death, their punishment was later reduced to life imprisonment in 1977.

Throughout the nearly half-century ordeal, Simmons steadfastly maintained his innocence, asserting that he was in Louisiana at the time of the tragic shooting. It wasn’t until this year that Oklahoma County District Attorney Vicki Behenna uncovered a significant lapse in justice—prosecutors had failed to disclose a crucial police lineup report during Simmons’ 1975 trial.

This pivotal document, labeled by Simmons’ legal team as ‘powerful innocence evidence,’ revealed that an eyewitness failed to identify Simmons. Acknowledging this critical error, Behenna opted to dismiss Simmons’ murder conviction and release him from prison earlier this year, although she initially hesitated to term it an ‘exoneration.’

While Behenna stated that the dismissal was due to a “failure of proof,” Simmons’ lawyers, Joe Norwood and John Coyle, argued that the lineup report would have prevented Simmons’ trial altogether. They also highlighted the testimony of 12 witnesses confirming Simmons’ presence in Louisiana during the murder.

Delving into decades’ worth of legal records, Oklahoma County District Court Judge Amy Palumbo granted Simmons’ request to elevate his dismissal to a declaration of ‘actual innocence.’ This historic ruling officially marks Simmons’ case as the longest wrongful imprisonment in U.S. history.

In a statement, Judge Palumbo declared, “This Court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the offense for which Mr. Simmons was convicted… was not committed by Mr. Simmons.”

Following the declaration, Simmons expressed relief, stating, “This is the day we’ve been waiting on for a long, long time. It finally came. We can say justice was done today, finally, and I’m happy.”

Despite the elation of exoneration, Simmons, battling cancer, faces an uncertain future. While eligible for up to $175,000 in compensation from the state of Oklahoma, the process may take years. In the meantime, Simmons relies on donations to support himself during his ongoing medical treatment.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related articles