NORFOLK, Nebraska – Death-row inmate Jorge Galindo has filed a petition with the federal court to overturn his convictions and sentence for his involvement in the U.S. Bank killings in Norfolk in 2002. This comes after an unsuccessful attempt for the Nebraska Supreme Court to rehear his case, following a split decision in September affirming a District Court judge’s decision to deny Galindo post-conviction relief without an evidentiary hearing.
Galindo was sentenced to death five times for his role in the U.S. Bank branch killings on September 26, 2002, where he and two others gunned down five people – Lola Elwood, Lisa Bryant, Jo Mausbach, Samuel Sun, and Evonne Tuttle. The three men left the bank empty-handed as the victims tragically lost their lives.
Following the incident, all three men were arrested and ended up on death row. Sandoval and Galindo were found guilty in trial, while Vela pleaded guilty. Subsequent automatic appeals were all rejected.
In 2019, Galindo filed a motion for post-conviction relief, alleging claims of prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel. Despite being denied a hearing without an evidentiary hearing, Galindo appealed to the Nebraska Supreme Court, where oral arguments were heard.
Galindo’s attorney, Adam Sipple, argued that although he wasn’t challenging his client’s underlying convictions, he should have been granted a hearing to explore allegations against the county attorney, Joe Smith. The attorney argued that Smith had been involved in a criminal drug ring and shielded himself from federal scrutiny by getting participants to testify against Galindo at the sentencing phase, implicating him in another killing before the U.S. Bank murders.
In a partial dissent, Justice Jonathan Papik supported the majority’s decision on all claims, except the one involving the county attorney, saying that Galindo should be granted an evidentiary hearing. Justice Lindsey Miller-Lerman also joined in the partial dissent, advocating for an evidentiary hearing on the claim.
On December 9, 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 fight to vacate his convictions and sentence, the legal battle over his involvement in the deadly U.S. Bank killings in 2002 continues to unfold.