Death-Row Inmate Seeks Reversal of Convictions for U.S. Bank Killings

Norfolk, Nebraska – Death-row inmate Jorge Galindo has filed a petition in federal court to overturn his convictions and sentence for his involvement in the U.S. Bank killings in Norfolk, Nebraska, in 2002. This move comes after an unsuccessful attempt to appeal his case to the Nebraska Supreme Court, which resulted in a split decision affirming the denial of postconviction relief without an evidentiary hearing.

Galindo was sentenced to death five times for his role in the U.S. Bank killings, in which he, Jose Sandoval, and Erick Vela entered a U.S. Bank branch and fatally shot five people. The three men left the bank empty-handed, but were apprehended shortly after. Sandoval and Galindo were found guilty at trial, while Vela pleaded guilty.

After numerous unsuccessful appeals, Galindo filed a motion for postconviction relief in 2019, claiming prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel. His appeal to the Nebraska Supreme Court, based on allegations against the county attorney involved in his case, was ultimately denied.

Despite the denial, Galindo’s attorney, Adam Sipple, pushed for an evidentiary hearing to explore the allegations against the county attorney. While the majority of the court found the conflict to be harmless error, Justice Jonathan Papik dissented, stating that an evidentiary hearing should be granted to further investigate the claims.

In December, Sipple filed a motion to stay the mandate from being issued, while Galindo seeks review 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.

As Galindo continues to appeal his convictions and sentence, the case remains a focal point of legal and ethical debates surrounding the death penalty in the US. The complexity of the case underscores the challenges of seeking postconviction relief in capital punishment cases.