OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma County court judge will decide whether a man convicted of murder back in the 1970’s could get a new trial or have his conviction thrown out, following an evidentiary hearing Tuesday.
The evidentiary hearing came Tuesday, just days after the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office called for a new trial for Glynn Simmons, who was convicted of murder in the Edmond Liquor Store murder case from the 1970s.
Oklahoma County District Attorney Vicki Behenna filed a motion requesting the Oklahoma County District Court vacate the judgment and sentence in the 1975 murder conviction of Glynn Simmons after it was discovered that reports and other details were not presented at the time of the original trial.
Simmons was convicted of the December 30, 1974 murder of Carolyn Sue Rogers at an Edmond liquor store, along with Don Roberts, of Oklahoma City.
A customer was also wounded in the shooting.
While Don Roberts was released on parole after serving more than 30 years behind bars, Glynn Simmons is still in prison after nearly five decades.
Both men maintain their innocence.
DA Behenna said the decision calling for a new trial came after a “thorough review of the case.”
“It was discovered that a lineup and certain police reports that were available at the time were not turned over to the defense as required under Brady v. Maryland. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma found that this violation did not prejudice Mr. Simmons, however the circumstances cast a shadow over his right to a fair trial,” said Behenna in a prior statement to KFOR.
“Mr. Simmons was charged with this crime before I was even born. It sure would have been nice for the state to have confessed this error before now,” said presiding judge Amy Palumbo in a statement to the courtroon before the hearing began.
Testimony was heard Tuesday from twelve people, including a prosecutor, eyewitness testimony expert, a cousin, seven alibi witnesses and the two men convicted of the crime: Don Roberts and Glynn Simmons.
Palumbo made no decision Tuesday, but advised that she would make a judgment in the case after a more in-depth review of the testimonies and evidence presented.
While the initial case relied on eyewitness testimony, the eyewitness testimony expert testifying in court Tuesday said there’s no validity to the eyewitness identification in the case.
“The eyewitness[es] didn’t get a good look at the perpetrators and there were issues with the lineups they were presented with. For a case that hinges on eyewitness identification, there’s no validity to the eyewitness identification in this case,” said Curt Carlson, Ph.D, citing decades of research following the 1975 case that have been conducted on eyewitness memory and provided context on how to construct and administer a lineup.
“A case that relies only on eyewitness identification….[is] very difficult because memory is not always going to be an accurate recording of what happened, especially in this case based on all the information that I’ve reviewed. It doesn’t seem as though the eyewitness identification would be indicative of the suspect’s guilt in this case,” he added.