Glynn Simmons, America’s longest serving exoneree, sues cities and detectives involved in wrongful conviction

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Glynn Simmons, a man found innocent of an Edmond murder over 48 years after his conviction and incarceration, is now suing the cities and detectives involved in the botched case.

Glynn Simmons, 71, served 48 years, one month and 18 days for a murder he did not commit.

Special Report: The Wrong Man

It’s a story News 4 has been covering in depth for 20 years.

On the night of the murder, December 30, 1974, Simmons wasn’t even in the State of Oklahoma.

He and a co-defendant, Don Roberts, were railroaded into a death penalty conviction in an unfair trial where the only evidence against them was the testimony of a traumatized teenager who had been shot in the back of the head.

That eyewitness picked out several other Black men in series of police lineups in early 1975.

Glynn Simmons pleaded not-guilty to the crime; he has always maintained his innocence.

Simmons and Roberts were both found guilty of the murder. Both men were originally sentenced to death.

NEWS 4 EXCLUSIVE: OK man wrongfully convicted tasting freedom after 48 years in prison

In 2003, News 4 started reporting in-depth on Simmons’ questionable conviction.

In 2022, Simmons’ attorney, Joe Norwood, asked the court to take another look.

“[Glynn Simmons] had 50 years stolen from him,” Norwood said. “The prime earning years of his life, when he could have been getting experiences and developing skills. That was taken from him by no fault of his own.”

In April 2023, the District Attorney Vicki Behenna admitted Simmons’ trial was unfair.

In July, Judge Amy Palumbo tossed out Simmons’ murder conviction.

By December, Judge Palumbo ruled, “by clear and convincing evidence that the offense for which Mr. Simmons was convicted, sentenced and imprisoned…. was not committed by Mr. Glynn Simmons.”

That declaration of innocence cleared the way for Simmons to sue the parties involved in his wrongful conviction.

‘Justice was done today, finally’: Judge declares wrongfully incarcerated man innocent 48 years after conviction

The federal lawsuit is filed against the City of Edmond, the City of Oklahoma City, the Estate of former Detective Sergeant Anthony David Garrett and former Detective Claude L. Shobert.

“As a result of the actions of Defendants Garrett and Shobert, [Simmons] suffered loss of liberty, great mental anguish, humiliation, emotional pain and suffering, and other grievous and continuing injuries and damages,” the lawsuit reads. “The constitutional violations complained of by [Simmons] were a highly predictable consequence of a failure to equip Edmond and Oklahoma City police officers with the specific tools — including policies, training, and supervision — to handle the recurring situations of how to handle, preserve, and disclose exculpatory evidence; how to conduct proper identification procedures, including lineups; and how to write police reports and notes of witness statements.”

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