Court Petition Filed to Vacate Death Row Convictions for U.S. Bank Killings

NORFOLK, Neb. (AP) — Death-row inmate Jorge Galindo is seeking to overturn his convictions and sentence for his role in the U.S. Bank killings in Norfolk in 2002. This move follows an unsuccessful attempt to have the Nebraska Supreme Court rehear his case, which resulted in a split decision last September.

Galindo received the death penalty for his involvement in the U.S. Bank branch shooting, which claimed the lives of five people. Along with two accomplices, Galindo entered the bank and fatally shot Lola Elwood, Lisa Bryant, Jo Mausbach, Samuel Sun, and Evonne Tuttle before leaving empty-handed. All three men were apprehended shortly after the killings and were subsequently sentenced to death.

After being denied a hearing without an evidentiary hearing, Galindo appealed to the Nebraska Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments last year. His lawyer, Adam Sipple, claims that Madison County Attorney Joe Smith was involved in a criminal drug ring and shielded himself from federal scrutiny by getting participants to testify against Galindo, implicating him in another killing.

The majority of the court found that even if Galindo could prove his allegations, the conflict could not amount to anything more than harmless error. However, Justice Jonathan Papik dissented, stating that he would grant Galindo an evidentiary hearing on the claim involving the county attorney.

On Dec. 9, Sipple filed a motion asking to stay the mandate from being issued, while Galindo seeks review of a number of federal questions. Two days later, assistant federal public defenders filed a 375-page petition for a writ of habeas corpus on Galindo’s behalf, raising 37 claims.

The petition for a writ of habeas corpus seeks to challenge Galindo’s convictions and sentence for the U.S. Bank killings. The case has sparked debate over the conduct of the county attorney and its potential impact on the validity of Galindo’s death sentences.