Man formerly on death row gets murder case dismissed after 48 years

(OKLAHOMA CITY) — After 48 years, a man who says he was wrongfully convicted of murder has officially had his case dismissed.

Glynn Simmons was 22 when he was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1974 death of Carolyn Sue Rogers at a local liquor store. Simmons is now 70.

He received a death penalty sentence in 1975. However, his sentence was modified to life in prison in 1977 following a U.S. Supreme Court decision, according to Oklahoma County District Court Attorney Vicki Zemp Behenna.

In April, Behenna requested that Simmons’ conviction be vacated and retried after a review of the case found that “a lineup and certain police reports that were available at the time were not turned over to the defense.”

Behenna argued that the circumstances “cast a shadow over his right to a fair trial.”

In July, Oklahoma County District Court Judge Amy Palumbo vacated Simmons’ conviction and set the case for a new trial, allowing Simmons to be released for the first time in 48 years.

Behenna then asked for the case to be dismissed, arguing that the state will not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Simmons was responsible for the death.

Behenna said in a statement that this is because there is no longer physical evidence; the original investigators and detectives in the case are not available or deceased; and the surviving victims are not available or deceased.

Behenna added the defense alleges that their alternate suspect was identified in one of the lineups.

Palumbo ruled Tuesday that the case will be dismissed with prejudice, meaning the case cannot be retried.

“I plan to use my remaining time to help others who are still stuck where I was,” said Simmons in an online post. “We need to fix this system so that what happened to me will never happen to anyone else, ever again!”

He said he is currently undergoing chemotherapy for liver cancer.

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