SPRINGFIELD — A parade of witnesses who testified against Jamie Snow at his 2001 murder trial have recanted, creating a pool of new evidence that could reverse Snow’s murder conviction, an attorney for the former Bloomington man told the 4th District Appellate court Wednesday.
In the decade since Snow’s trial, “significant new evidence has come forward, evidence that changes the view and the look of this case,” argued Tara Thompson, with the University of Chicago Law School’s Exoneration Project.
Snow is attempting to reverse a lower court ruling that denied him a hearing on post-trial issues, including his effort to have ballistics testing done on bullets from the scene where William Little died in a 1991 robbery of a Bloomington gas station.
“This is a classic case where ballistics testing has the potential to point to other suspects,” said Thompson.
Snow was arrested eight years after the robbery and is serving a life sentence for the murder.
Among the witnesses who now support Snow’s innocence claim is former Bloomington police officer and convicted rapist Jeff Pelo. New statements from the former officer who was the first to arrive on the scene contradict claims by key witness Danny Martinez that Snow was seen leaving the station, said Thompson.
State appellate prosecutor Anastacia Brooks argued that Pelo’s testimony is irrelevant.
“We already knew Pelo had not seen anyone coming out of the gas station. He could not have been in a position to see anyone leave,” said Brooks, who said the pillars of the state’s case against Snow remained intact after the defense arguments.
Other witnesses who reportedly received deals in their criminal cases in return for their testimony in the Snow case also have recanted, according to the defense. Statements from some witnesses detail efforts by authorities to pressure them into testifying, according to the appeal filed on Snow’s behalf.
The three-panel court took the case under advisement.