CHICAGO — Jamie Snow's latest appeal on his murder conviction in the 1991 death of a Bloomington gas station worker has been rejected by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.
Snow is serving a life sentence in the shooting death of Bill Little, who was killed during an apparent robbery at the former Clark Oil station at Linden and Empire streets on Bloomington's east side. Snow was arrested in 1999 on murder charges.
The recent denial of Snow's federal petition follows similar denial of his claims by judges in McLean County and the state's 4th District Appellate Court in Springfield. The Illinois Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
McLean County State's Attorney Jason Chambers said the case has been reviewed dozens of times in state and federal courts.
"Every single time, including this three-judge panel, the determination has been that there was nothing sufficient to cast aside the verdict reached by 12 jurors in McLean County who heard the substantial evidence, including testimony from about a dozen witnesses that the defendant implicated himself in the crime," said Chambers.
Still to be resolved in McLean County Circuit Court are issues involving possible forensic tests requested by the defense on evidence in Snow's case, said First Assistant State's Attorney Adam Ghrist.
"Despite each ruling upholding this conviction, the defense continues to file motions, and our office and McLean County taxpayers continue to expend more resources. At some point people have to ask, when does it end?" said Ghrist.
Snow's lawyer Tara Thompson with the Chicago-based Exoneration Project said his legal team "believes in Jamie's Snow's innocence, and we plan to appeal the decision to the United States Supreme Court. We continue to investigate and litigate his case, and we believe that one day the truth will come out about who really killed Bill Little."
Thompson asked that anyone with information about the case contact her.
The 7th Circuit judges concluded that Snow failed to produce sufficient evidence that his trial lawyer Frank Picl was ineffective legal counsel. Picl was disbarred in 2006 after he pleaded guilty to financial exploitation of an elderly person.
Picl's background included mental illness, a gambling addiction and alcoholism dating back to at least 2001, noted the federal panel, but no specific incident involving Picl's issues was tied to Snow's trial.
Snow's ongoing efforts to convince a reviewing court that witnesses at his trial lied about his involvement in Little's deaths gained no traction with the 7th Circuit judges.
Inconsistencies in witness statements were challenged by the defense during the trial, the judges concluded, and the credibility of their testimony was an issue for the jury.
Snow's lawyers with the Exoneration Project have argued that Snow's lawyer was not told about consideration given to state witnesses by police and prosecutors in exchange for their testimony.