We were made aware this week that Jason Chambers has yet again given a blatantly false statement concerning the Jamie Snow case. This is the second time that he has disseminated this lie in a public forum. This time, we do not feel as if we have a choice but to ask for a public retraction. The letter below was sent to Jason Chambers today, the news station (WMBD) was also copied on the communication. We hope he will respond by granting our request. We will keep you informed of any updates.
McLean County States Attorney
104 W. Front St
Bloomington, Illinois 61701
RE: WMBD Quote – Retraction Request
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
On behalf of Jamie Snow supporters, we write to demand the immediate public retraction and clarification of a false, misleading, and deceptive public statement made by you with regard to a recent appellate hearing on behalf of Jamie Snow.
In a WMBD story published May 13, 2015 at: http://www.centralillinoisproud.com/story/d/story/convicted-murderer-seeks-new-trial/37624/b10eRV3HM0OLfGLdrU7Dzw, you were quoted:
“State’s Attorney Jason Chambers says even if there was new evidence, there would still be around 40 people who testified under oath that Snow had bragged to them about committing the murder.”
This statement is patently, objectively false. The state only called 41 people to testify in any capacity at trial, certainly you know this. So are you asserting that Jamie confessed to every single witness the state called at the time of trial except for one?
Similar to disinformation provided to original Snow jury members, you purposely concealed that of the 41 state witnesses who testified at Snow’s trial under oath:
- 10 were customers, employees, family members of the victim, etc.;
- 17 were law enforcement or state workers (detectives, police officers, coroner, etc.);
- 3 were classified as “eyewitnesses,” (though no one saw the crime actually committed and their descriptions of a suspicious person leaving the scene were inconsistent).
- “Eyewitness” 1: The state has now conceded that the star witness’ ID was unreliable
- “Eyewitness” 2: Has recanted his ID
- “Eyewitness” 3: Never identified Snow
The truth of the matter is that there were 11 witnesses who swore under oath that Jamie “confessed” or implicated himself somehow. Not 40, 11. And what you fail to acknowledge is that the entire purpose of Jamie’s current petition, the new evidence that you are glossing over, is evidence that many of these 11 (not 40) witnesses lied. Jamie never confessed to them.
Eleven (not 40) jailhouse informants which include several alcoholics, a convicted sex offender, prisoners desperate for shortened terms, parolees, paid informants and complete strangers – testified that Jamie Snow “confessed” to them, or implicated him in some way.
The majority of these 11 (not 40) witnesses testified while incarcerated. Several of these 11 (not 40) informants had charges pending, and received leniency on those charges after they testified. Most of these 11 (not 40) jailhouse informants presented stories that were not only inconsistent with their police statements; they were inconsistent with each other’s accounting of events.
Mr. Chambers, you selectively ignore multiple sworn witness recantations and affidavits noting tremendous pressure from the Bloomington Police Department. Witnesses were told exactly what to say on the stand and were provided with details that contradicted their initial interviews. Mothers were threatened with the loss of their children. $7,500 in reward money is yet to be accounted for. The very young victim’s mother was even provided with witness phone numbers to add additional pressure.
You ignore the fact that the newest affidavit states that not only did a witness know he was lying, so did the prosecution. You ignore the approximate 17 affidavits submitted by witnesses in which they recant or change their testimonies. And you continue to ignore the remaining numerous pieces of new evidence before the court comprised of critical state’s evidence that was never disclosed to Snow before trial, was never heard by the jury, and was obtained only through Freedom of Information Act requests.
Instead, you choose to make blatant false statements to the press, use McLean County tax dollars to continue to fight appeals, and refuse to perform DNA testing (paid for by the Exoneration Project) that could confirm Snow’s conviction or exonerate him.
Unfortunately, this is not the first instance wherein you, Mr. Chambers, have made false public statements concerning this matter. On March 28, 2014 you made a similar comment on a “VoteJasonChambers” Youtube.com video.
A FOIA was filed on 4/22/14 requesting the names and contact information of “over 40 different people” Snow “bragged about the killing or implicated himself” to, etc. On 4/29/14 Rosalee Dodson, Esq., Asst. Corporation Counsel for the City of Bloomington denied that request in full.
Still, McLean County’s top law enforcement official continues to lie to the press. Maintaining the status quo of your ethically challenged predecessors, you have crossed boundaries set forth in the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct. We have posted the relevant rules at the end of this letter for your review.
The State has unfettered access to every detail regarding witnesses who previously claimed Jamie Snow “confessed,” yet continues to publicly disseminate blatant falsehoods with reckless regard for the truth. We overlooked the last instance, but are now forced to demand a public retraction in an attempt to end this libelous and inflammatory abuse of public office.
We further ask that the retraction and clarification be disseminated as widely as the original statement, to specifically include WMBD, the source of the original statement.
Sue Gless Thorne
cc: Jeff Mulligan, WMBD News Director/Operations
Jenny Goodman, WMBD Managing Editor
Paul Cicchini, WMBD Main Anchor
Maria Chandler, WMBD Main Anchor
Jacob Peklo, WMBD General Assignment Reporter
Hannah Hilyard, WMBD General Assignment Reporter
Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct
RULE 3.6 Trial Publicity
(a) A lawyer who is participating or has participated in the investigation or litigation of a matter shall not make an extrajudicial statement that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by means of public communication if the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that it would pose a serious and imminent threat to the fairness of an adjudicative proceeding.
RULE 3.8 Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor
(d) In addition to his or her obligations under Rule 3.6, a public prosecutor or other government lawyer in criminal litigation shall exercise reasonable care to prevent investigators, law enforcement personnel, employees or other persons assisting or associated with the prosecutor in a criminal case from making an extrajudicial statement that the public prosecutor or other government lawyer would be forbidden from making under Rule 3.6.
(e) The prosecutor in a criminal case shall refrain from making extrajudicial comments that would pose a serious and imminent threat of heightening public condemnation of the accused, except for statements that are necessary to inform the public of the nature and extent of the prosecutor’s action and that serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose.”
In 1935, the United States Supreme Court described the duty of a federal prosecutor in the following passage:
“…He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor – indeed, he should do so. But, while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones. It is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one.” Berger v. United States, 295 U.S. 78, 88, 79 L. Ed. 1314, 1321, 55 S. Ct. 629, 633 (1935).”
In 2001, Jamie Snow was wrongfully convicted for the 1991 murder of a gas station attendant during an apparent armed robbery at the Clark Super 100 Station located at 802 E. Empire St. in Bloomington, Illinois. Jamie was home with his family on the other side of town when the crime occurred. He is currently being represented by the University of Chicago’s Exoneration Project. This is his 17th year residing in Stateville Prison in Joliet, Illinois.
3/31/1991: THE NIGHT OF THE CRIME
At 8:16pm on March 31st, 1991 a silent alarm was triggered at the gas station. The first officer to respond was Jeff Pelo. He parked south of the credit union on the street, and approached on foot.
Clark Oil Station Layout – Not to scale
At that time, Officer Pelo observed an older car, blue, with a male putting air in the tires as he was watching the front of the station. He didn’t see any movement inside. He ran the license plate number of the blue vehicle that was on the lot, but the database was down. At that time he observed the male walk from his car towards the station, stop and look back towards his car, turn and walk toward the station some more, stop and turn around and go back to his vehicle, get in it, and drive off the lot. He can’t recall whether he backed up or did a u-turn, but he did state the vehicle drove west bound on Empire street afterwards, and that he (the officer) started walking across Empire Street on the east side of the lot as he was watching the gas station. As he was doing this, a pickup truck with 2 white males pulled up and started to get out of their truck. He told them to get in the truck and go across the street, and they became a little argumentative. That’s when he noticed a tennis shoe sticking out from behind the counter. He then ordered the 2 to get in the truck and go across the street and wait, and drew his weapon. He then cleared the store and found the attendant lying lifeless on the floor.
Officer Williams arrived at the scene at almost the same time as Officer Pelo. Officer Williams was in his car, parked northbound on Linden, watching the front of the station as well while Pelo approached on foot. He heard Pelo call in the license plate over the radio, and did not observe any movement inside the store. There was only one door, one way in or out of the station. Neither officer saw anyone leave or go into the station. Both officers explicitly stated they observed no movement inside the station.
Note: As you will see below, and what’s critical to understand, TWO police officers were watching the store, as well as “star witness” Danny Martinez, the entire time. An important point, because Martinez would eventually testify that he came “face to face” with the suspect as he was walking towards the store, and nearly ran into him.
Four “Eyewitnesses” were identified the night of the crime: Gerardo Gutierrez, Carlos and Juan Luna, and Danny Martinez. I use the term loosely, because no one actually saw the shooting occur. Below is an overview of these witness, what they claimed to see, and their testimony. Although there are many more inconsistencies than what are explained below, this should give you an overview of what the state pinned their conviction on in this area.
1) Gerardo Gutierrez reported that around 8pm he pulled into the station for gas, and as he was pumping the gas he saw a man inside the station and it appeared he and the attendant was arguing with someone. He entered the station to pay for his gas, and as he handed the attendant his money, he reported the attendant’s hands were shaking so badly that he dropped the money that was being exchanged. After Gutierrez went home, he heard about the shooting at the gas station and returned to the station to speak with police about what he saw. That night police put together a composite drawing of the suspect based on Gutierrez’ description and it was released the next day.
Gutierrez described a man with an earring and a fresh injury on his chin, so fresh he said he could still see holes in his skin from the stitches. In the early morning of the crime, he identified a mugshot from photo books as the suspect. He also called police a few days later and claimed he saw the same man again in Peoria, Illinois. Gutierrez never picked out Jamie, not through the line up, nor photo sessions over the years that included multiple photos of Jamie.
2) Carlos and Juan Luna were the second witnesses. Both were young teenagers who lived across the street, a few houses down from the Clark station. They claimed they were looking out the window to see if a family member named Gloria Luna was at work – they were thinking of going to get candy. They claimed they saw a man come out of the station face forward opening the door with his left hand. Carlos said the man had on a black coat down to his ankles, and the coat was unbuttoned. He stated the man looked like he was holding something under his coat but could not see what it was. It was later determined that these two boys were 212 feet from the station. Carlos gave a statement saying he didn’t think he’d be able to ID anyone, and Juan said he thought maybe he could. Neither boy was able to help to complete a composite drawing that night, the composite sketch artist determined that neither boy could provide enough details of the mans face. He was later asked during the trial if he knew Danny Martinez (the last witness). He answered yes, and also testified that he did not see Martinez at the scene. From where Martinez was located, Juan and Carlos Luna would have had to look through Martinez to see the suspect come out of the door.
3) Danny Martinez was the “star witness” in this case. He was the man that was putting air in his tires as the police officers arrived on the scene. He stated that he pulled into the station parking lot to get some soda pop and air up a low tire. He said that while he was down putting air in his tire he heard two sounds and thought his car was backfiring. He said he saw a man backing out of the station with a tan windbreaker type jacket on that came to his waist. And that the coat was zipped all the way up and the guy had his hands in his pockets. In the first police report, Martinez stated that as the man was backing out of the station he got up from his position and started towards the station. He said it sounded like his car was about to die so he stopped, turned and looked at his car, decided it would be okay, and when he turned back around he saw the man out of the corner of his eye rounding the corner on the east side of the station heading north. Although Martinez did assist in the development of a composite, it was starkly different from the one developed by Gutierrez.
Police chose to release Gutierrez’ composite to the public. On the night of the crime, , Martinez picked two suspects out from a photo array and stated, “It’s between these two.” Below in the report, the detective noted that Gutierrez affirmed that mugshot BP6395 was the suspect. We do not know how these suspects were cleared.
Note, these photo’s were only recently obtained through FOIA request, they were not used in Jamie’s trial.
Mugshots picked out by Martinez the night of the crime, saying “It’s between these two.” Gutierrez affirmed BP6395 was the suspect. (Some information redacted per FOIA)
6/21/91: THE LINEUP
On 06/21/91 an in person lineup was conducted in which Jamie participated as #6. Martinez asked for #3 and #4 to move forward, and said that #3 looked like the person, but was not positive.’ At this time, Carlos Luna was the only witness that picked Snow out of the line up; however, he failed to identify him from subsequent photo books. In his testimony, he said, “I just imagined everyone of them doing it and he came to mind and he fit the picture.” Luna has since recanted his identification in a sworn affidavit.In Luna’s affidavit, he stated, “As a 14 year old boy I thought the police had caught the right person, because of this I identified Jamie Snow.” There were 6 people in the line up, where would he have gotten the idea that Jamie Snow was the “right person” unless it had been suggested to him?
From left to right: (6) Jamie Snow (5) Tony Hanshaw (4) Charles Renfro (3) Steven VanNote (2) Jeff Piwonski (1) Randall Kelly
- 06/21/91 – In person lineup – in which Snow participated (#6), Martinez asked for #’3 and #4 to move forward, and said that ‘#3 looked like the person, but was not positive.’
ADDITIONAL PHOTO ARRAYS
On 10/22/91 another photo book session was conducted with Danny Martinez. Again, he did not pick Snow, but picked another photo.
- 10/22/91 – Photo book Martinez did not pick Snow, but picked two others, saying “…he has seen Picture A (Kenneth Lee) in the Clark Station on numerous occasions…” and “…picture O (Charles Renfro) looks a lot like the subject he saw coming from the station…”. We know from Detective Crowe’s testimony that multiple pictures of Jamie were included in this photo session.
Additionally, on 11/03/93 a photo book session was conducted in which he did not pick anyone.
- 11/03/93 – Photo books in which Martinez did not pick anyone. We know from Detective Crowe’s testimony that multiple pictures of Jamie were included in this photo session.
(We have consistently been denied FOIA requests to obtain the photo arrays used in the 10/22/91 and 11/03/93 viewings. They were not presented at trial.)
THE 8 YEAR LONG INVESTIGATION
During this time, the victim’s family is putting tremendous pressure on the police department to solve this crime, as they should have. They used the media to keep pressure on the BPD and distributed thousands of flyers. In addition to the $2,500 Crimestoppers reward, an anonymous donor donated $5,000. This fund was separate and asked for tips to be sent to a P.O. Box.
(We are currently fighting for this information through FOIA, we have thus far been denied any accounting for the reward distribution.)
In December of 1993, a completely different composite sketch was released to the public.
The first sketch showed a white man with a ball earring in his left ear, a mustache and a scar on the left side of his chin. He was described as being 22 to 25 years old and 6 feet 2 inches tall.
The second sketch released in late 1993 shows a man described as being 5 feet 8 inches tall, with no mustache and no mention of a scar.
December 1993 – Second composite released. Gutierrez created the first, Martinez created the second.
So the suspect lost the chin scar, earring, facial hair, and 6 inches of height.
Initially, they eluded to perhaps there were two suspects with this release. However, in subsequent reports, they used the new composite only. It’s also important to note here, that Snow never had a chin scar, nor had either of his ears ever been pierced. Although neither composite looks like Snow, the new one released more closely resembles Snow’s characteristics.
A blurb from the local newspaper, The Pantagraph, illustrates police spokesman Ogg’s irritation with releasing another composite:
According to the Pantagraph, police spokesman Ogg said the FBI teaches police to stick to one composite drawing during a homicide investigation, and Bloomington police followed that guideline until yesterday.
He said releasing the second composite drawing was like putting “the second-string offense” into a game when the first-string doesn’t get the job done.
Investigators believe the two witnesses who helped Sanders make the drawings saw the same person. But Ogg said it is possible the witnesses were describing two different people. The witnesses were not with each other near the station.
Click the link to see how the composites and descriptions changed over time in the local paper.
9/7/1994: Jamie Takes a Polygraph
So, they moved forward with the second composite created by Danny Martinez. The victim’s family continued to put tremendous pressure on the state. And in 1994, Jamie Snow agreed to take a polygraph about this case. the first one he took on 7/28/94 was inconclusive. He took another one on 9/7/94 which he passed.
At that time, Lead Detective Charlie Crowe told Jamie that he believed he didn’t commit the crime, but that he thought he knew who did. Jamie told Detective Crowe that he had no idea who did it, and would tell him if he knew.
NEW EVIDENCE: We obtained the polygrapher worksheet from the Illinois State Police through FOIA containing the worksheet from the polygraph taken on 7/28/94. In it, Martinez told police that Jamie was not the person he saw. This was in 1994, and was never disclosed to defense counsel before trial.
It’s hard to read, but start at “Where” Polygraph Sheet here
802 E. Empire
Easter Sunday —- 8pm shot ———————— tray stolen – $60-$70 neighbor @ station
putting air in tires – hears 2 pops – sees a man back out
looks @ turns & leaves on foot –
Says this not person he saw –
Same Clark Sta robbed 3 mos before on 12/90
also implicated in Freedom Oil 2-3 weeks before
March 1999: Martinez and Officer Pelo are interviewed again within two days of each other
Each with completely different accountings of events. This was shortly before Snow’s arrest. These interviews were taped. Snow only heard Pelo’s tape when he went pro se in 2004 and received discovery. This tape was not used at trial.
o Martinez Taped Interview (3/4/99): PDF Audio
- Martinez: At that time I was putting air in my tire I heard my car backfired, what I heard, backfire and I end up putting uh finishing putting air in my tire and I start walking to the gas station to get my pop or whatever I was gonna go in the gas station for and at that turned i saw a individual come out of the gas station backwards. I had uh walked maybe a couple steps and I heard my car was about to die. I heard it backfire and I turned around and when I turned around to go back to the gas station I had ran into a, someone and he was kind of uh shocked to see me there. Um, and then he walked around the corner and I, I was going toward the building and I heard someone say hey back up and I turned around and it was an officer across the street at the credit union and uh he said did you see anybody and I said yes I just saw someone right there and then uh another person went around the building. He had yelled out to a person was with a black truck next door to the building and told the gentleman to get in his truck and get out of here and that gentleman did and he asked me, I told him where I lived and he said just back up your car and go on home.
o Pelo Taped Interview (3/2/99): PDF
- Pelo: In the Clark station parking lot was a older car, blue, with a male putting air in the tires as I was watching it I was watchin the front of the station. There was no, couldn’t see any movement or anything inside. Ran the license plate number of the blue vehicle that was in the lot. One of the dispatchers was givin me a hard time about runnin the plate cuz leads was down, and the male walks from his car towards the station stops looks back towards his car; turns walks towards the station some more; stops and turns around and goes back to his vehicle got in it, can’t remember if he was backin out of the lot or did a little u-turn and drove off the lot.
Pelo states several times in this interview that he never saw anyone around Martinez, and he never spoke to Martinez. He is asked this over and over, and it is repeated several times in this interview. It was never used in court. Even though the interviews were taped only 2 days apart, they did not use the police officers interview, but did use Martinez’ interview in court, even though his witness ID is very questionable.
Suggestive Tactics Used by Bloomington Police
In the Martinez 1999 taped interview (before Snow’s arrest) Detectives mentions by name “Jamie Snow” 5 times in 8 questions. (This goes to the “suggestive tactics” from the Innocence Project recommendations)
o PAGE 9:
Detective Katz: Ok. Do you know a person by the name of Jamie Snow?
Martinez: Oh no. I never met the person, but I’ve heard the name around town.
Detective Katz: You’ve never seen his face that you’re aware of?
Martinez: That I’m aware of I have never seen his face.
Detective Katz: You just heard his name.
Martinez: I’ve seen I don’t know if uh Detective Crow had shown me pictures of him or uh if uh he was one of the guys in the lineup that I had uh, uh done but uh otherwise I as far as my memory…
Detective Katz: If a person walked in here light now you would not be able to tell me if that’s Jamie Snow or not?
Detective Katz: Ok.
Detective Barkes: So you, prior to this incident happening at tire Clark station you didn’t know Jamie Snow from Mary Blue?
Detective Katz: So you would have never told any police officer or any detective or anybody that would have asked you about this person that you saw at the gas station you wouldn’t have said well that’s, it could have been Jamie Snow because I know Jamie Snow.
Martinez: That’s correct, but with me I know people by their faces but not by their name.
Detective Katz: Ok did you know this face?
Martinez: No. Not at all.
In the Martinez 1999 taped interview (before Snow’s arrest) Detective Barkes admits to giving victim’s mother the witness’s telephone number.
o PAGE 14:
Martinez: And another thing I wanted to say is that I don’t know who called Mrs. Little to have her call me I mean that was I mean, I mean I know that her son was involved and uh I know Easter’s comin around the corner and she’s goin through a hard time right now I mean you coulda returned your phone call towards me and you know mentioned something to me…
Detective Barkes: And I, and I, and I did and I tried doin that and I’ll have to take responsibility for that and I’11 explain to you a little bit later about what transpired there, but I did remember somethin I wanna talk to you about. I wanna show you 3 drawings and what I would like you to do is look at these 3 drawings and tell me if you had to pick 1 of these 3 drawings as being the person you saw now granted 2 of ’em havs some kind of a hat on and 1 of ’em doesn’t, but if you had to pick which would you say, this is the person I saw?
The Indictment and Arrest
Jamie Snow and Susan Claycomb were indicted in July 1999, and arrested in September 1999. The indictment was primarily based on the testimony of Jailhouse informants. Danny Martinez was not called to testify at the indictment, although he would later become the key eyewitness in the case.
Susan’s Claycomb’s trial was held first. Claycomb was charged with the same charge as Jamie, Murder/Intent to Kill or Injure. The state’s theory was that Claycomb drove the getaway car. It is important to note that while Claycomb was awaiting trial, she was repeatedly offered a deal (probation) if she testified against Jamie in his trial, and admitted that she dropped him off at the gas station. Claiming innocence, she would never agree to testify against Snow. She would be tried first and of acquitted of all charges.
July/August 1999: Mark Foster and a Private Meeting with Danny Martinez at the State’s Attorney’s Office
As previously mentioned, Martinez was not called to testify before the grand jury in the indictment of Snow and Claycomb. He was actually put on the defense witness list after speaking to Susan’s investigator, Mark Foster prior to Susan’s trial. Once he was put on the defense list, the state had Martinez come into a private meeting shortly before Susan’s trial began. It was at that meeting, Martinez (finally) identified Snow from a PICTURE of the lineup Martinez had attended in June of 1991. After that meeting, Martinez was put on the state’s witness list.
Mark Foster testified in Claycomb’s trial that Martinez clearly stated that photo array’s he viewed over the years did not include the person he saw, that he would absolutely recognize the person he saw if shown a picture, and that the person he saw in the paper (Jamie Snow) was not the person he saw at the gas station that night. The excerpts below are from Mark Foster’s testimony in Claycomb’s trial. Unfortunately, Foster did not testify at Snow’s trial.
Q: By July 13th of 2000 did – did Mr. Martinez convey to you that he’d had an opportunity to see the picture of James Snow in the paper?
Q: Did he say anything about that?
A: He said that was not the person that came out of the Clark station.
Q: He told you it was not the person?
Foster would go on to testify that Martinez told him specifically that Jamie Snow was not the person he saw coming out of the gas station.
7/13/2000 – Martinez first meeting with Foster. Martinez said Jamie Snow was not the person, the person in the paper was not the person.
7/28/2000 – Martinez told Foster the detectives showed up and showed he identified a person from a photo in the line up.
Q: Would you tell me what happened?
A: I went back to Mr. Martinez’s residence after speaking to Mr. Skelton to clarify just a very few things that we wanted answers to. I told Mr. Martinez prior to arriving at his residence on the telephone I needed about five minutes of his time. During the conversation Mr. Martinez again spoke to me, stating off the record, that detectives showed up and showed him a photo lineup and he had made an identification of a person in the lineup.
Q: He said the detectives had shown up?
A: Yes, he did.
Q: Did you ask him to elaborate on that?
A: I asked him to elaborate about making the identification. I didn’t make him elaborate on the showing up part, no.
Q: What did he say with regard to the identification?
A: He said that he identified a Jamie Snow as the person he’d saw at the Clark Station that night.
Q: What did he say about – did you ask him about his changing of identification?
A: No, I did not.
Q: Did he ask you for any information about the case?
A: He did not directly ask me for information about the case, no.
Q: What did you two talk about?
A: Once he had told me that he had identified Jamie Snow in the photo lineup, we talked mainly about that.
Q: And he didn’t give you any answer as to why he had a complete change in his identification?
A: During the conversation he stated to me several times that it was his understanding that the State had quite a bit of evidence against the people that were in jail so he must have the right people. But he didn’t come out and directly state that that was the reason he changed his mind.
In reference to Martinez’ demeanor in the second meeting:
Q: How would you describe Mr. Martinez’s characteristics at the second meeting, if they were at all different from the first time you met?
A: Mr. Martinez had clearly, my impression with him, had clearly changed his thought on the amount of information the State had on the case.
Q: Why would you say that?
A: He repeated to me several times, not just once, that, and he formed it in a question to me was, well the State must have a lot of information or they would not be in jail. And when I didn’t respond to that question, he would state it again after we’d talk about something else, he’d bring it back up, that the State must have the right people or they wouldn’t be in jail.
8/10/2000: Met with Martinez for a few seconds. Martinez was upset with him. Would not talk anymore, did not speak with him again.
Q: And what came up during that conversation?
A: At that time I had a very brief conversation with Mr. Martinez, and he stated to me that he was upset with me.
Q: He was upset with you?
A: He was upset because he had learned that some of the information he thought was off the record I had relayed to the defense.
Q: Did he talk to you then?
A: At that time he actually had children in his vehicle, so we agreed to talk at a later date.
Q: And have you talked to him since?
A: No, I have not.
Danny Martinez becomes the Star Witness
Martinez would testify a month later in Susan Claycomb’s trial. Although he stated to Foster “detectives showed up and showed him a photo lineup” at which time he identified Snow, he testified in Claycomb’s trial that he identified Snow in a meeting on July 18, 2000 at the State’s attorney’s office. Additionally, he testified that he had recognized Snow from the newspaper article on the day of Claycomb’s and Snow’s arrest approximately 10 months prior to the private meeting at the state’s attorney’s office, but that he only told his wife.
Martinez Testimony – Claycomb Trial
Q: Now, did you recently, talking about approximately a month ago, around July 18th of 2000, have a chance to see a photograph of the lineup that was presented to you nine years ago?
A: That’s correct.
Q: And was that the first time you’ve seen that lineup again since the day you went to the jail and saw them?
A: That’s correct.
Q: And where were you at when you saw that lineup photograph?
A: I was here at the McLean County.
Q: Okay. And who were you with at that time?
A: I was here with yourself and Detective Crowe. I mean, I’m sorry, Detective Katz.
Q: And was Mr. Reynard also there?
A: That’s correct.
Q: And at that time were we doing trial preparation interview?
A: Yes, yes, I had came in.
Q: And did you then ask to see that photograph of the lineup?
(Why did he ask to see a picture of the lineup?)
A: Yes, that’s correct.
Q: And when you looked at the photograph, were you able to recognize anybody in that photograph?
A: That’s correct. That was…
Q: Showing you what’s marked as People’s exhibit number 11, ask if you recognize what that photograph is.
A: Yes, that’s the photograph of the lineup I saw.
Q: And is that the same photograph you saw just for the first time again last month in July?
A: That’s correct.
Q: Here in my office?
A: That’s correct.
Q: And as you sit there and you look at the photograph now, are you able to identify anyone in that photograph as the person that you saw there at the Clark gas station coming out of the station back on March 31st, 1991?
Q: Who are you able to identify?
A: Number six.
Q: And how are you able to identify and recognize number six?
A: By the eyes and the facial.
Q: Now, before you had seen this photograph last month, had you seen any other photographs of the person that you saw and you thought you recognized them?
A: That’s correct, the photograph that was in the Pantagraph.
Q: Okay. And do you recall when that was?
A: No, I don’t. I think is when they had arrested somebody for the – for this incident.
Q: And so you saw a photograph of the person arrested in – for this incident?
A: That’s correct.
Q: And when you saw that photograph in the paper, did something stand out at you at that point?
A: Yes, it was the eyes.
Q: I’m going to show you what’s marked as People’s exhibit number 36, ask you if you recognize what that is.
Q: What do you recognize that to be?
A: The person that was at the gas station that night.
Q: And do you recognize having seen that photograph before or a copy of that photograph?
A: Yes, right.
Q: Okay. What do you recognize that to be? Where have you seen that photograph before?
A: I saw the photo of him in the Pantagraph.
Q: Do you recognize this picture to be a copy of the picture that was run in the paper when he was arrested?
A: That’s correct.
Q: And at that time what drew your attention were the eyes?
A: Were the eyes.
(He never said anything in any report over the years about Snow’s eyes being remarkable.)
Q: Now, Mr. Martinez, when you were in my office about a month ago and you saw that lineup photo for the first time, did anyone in the office ask you to identify anybody or ask you to pick anybody out?
A: No, as a matter of fact I even asked you for the – if you had a copy of the lineup that I saw back in 91. And you said you did. And I saw the lineup, and I said this is the guy, this is the guy, isn’t it, this is the guy. I noticed right away.
(Again, why did he ask for a picture of the lineup?)
Q: And did any of us within the office answer your question when you said this is the guy, is this the guy?
A: I’m not sure if – if you did or not. And I – but I just kept saying this is the guy, isn’t it, this is the guy.
Q: Do you have any notion of a level of certainty you have when you look at People’s exhibit 36, the photograph in the newspaper and People’s exhibit number 11, which is the photo lineup photograph –
Q: — that the person you picked out is the person you saw at the gas station?
A: That’s correct.
Q: What is your level of certainty?
A: About 85 percent.
(In Snow’s trial, he would say he was 100% certain)
Q: Mr. Martinez, from the time that you first spoke to the police and told them what you had seen at the station, which was on March 31st of 1991, and over the next year or two, did you have an occasion to meet with Detective Crowe and view various photographs?
Q: And were you ever able to positively identify anybody from those photographs?
A: No, not really.
Snow’s Trial – Martinez Testimony
Q: Now, a few months ago, I believe back in July, did you have a chance to see a photograph of the People that were in that in person lineup?
A: That’s correct.
Q: Okay. And was that the first time you’d ever seen a photograph of that in person lineup?
A: That’s correct.
Q: Where was it that you were at when you saw that?
A: It was here in your office.
Q: Okay. And when you saw that photograph, whose idea was it to look at the photograph? Did anybody ask you to look at the photograph?
A: No, it was – I had asked if you had a picture of the lineup at that time and you said you did. And I asked you if I could see it and you went and had gotten a picture for me.
Q: Okay. Now, would it be fair to say that we were doing trial preparation when we were meeting in my office?
A: That’s correct.
Q: When you saw the photograph that I handed to you did you recognize anyone in that photograph?
A: Yes, when I looked at the photograph I recognized the person, the number six in that picture, and I said this is him, isn’t it, this is him. I know this is him. And I had mentioned to you, I said this is him.
Q: So you did, in fact, recognize somebody in that photograph?
A: That’s correct.
Q: And that would be number six. Is that correct?
A: That’s correct.
Q: Im going to show you what’s marked as State’s exhibit number 11, ask you if you recognize what that is?
A: That is the photograph that I had asked for in your office.
Q: Okay. That would be a photograph of the lineup of the individuals you saw in person?
A: That’s correct.
Q: Now, prior to your viewing that photograph in my office July, 2000 –
Q: — had you seen a photograph of that individual before?
A: Yes, I had. I saw a photograph of a picture in the Pantagraph that was posted when they had arrested the gentleman for the incident.
Q: I’m showing you what’s marked as State’s exhibit number 36, ask you if you recognize that?
A: That’s correct, that’s what I saw in the Pantagraph.
Q: Okay. And does that photograph fairly and accurately depict the photograph that you recall seeing in the Pantagraph?
A: That’s correct.
Q: Shortly after that person was arrested?
A: Yes, that’s correct.
Q: Now, when you saw the photograph in the Pantagraph, what was it that caught your attention at that time?
A: It was the eyes of the person in the photograph that caught my attention.
Q: Now, as you looked at the photograph back in July 2000 and as you see the defendant here in this courtroom today, do you have any idea in terms of how sure you are that this is the person that you saw?
A: Yes, I was 85 percent sure, but now I’m 100 percent sure.
(How does his memory actually improve over time?)
Q: Now, were you shown photographs of people by the police over the first year, year and a half after the murder occurred?
A: That’s correct.
Q: And were you ever able to positively identify anyone from those photographs?
(The night of the crime, he identified two suspects and said, “It’s between these two.”)
Q: When was the first time that you saw the person that you saw at the gas station on March 31st, 1991 and you said to yourself, that’s them, I know that’s the person? When was the first time that ever happened?
A: That was at your office when I saw the photograph of the lineup.
(Woops, he messed up. He said it was upon Snow’s arrest in September 1999 from the paper.)
Q: And even though you might have not have said anything, had you also noticed it in the Pantagraph that you talked about?
(Fast recovery for Teena, but he said he told his wife.)
A: That’s correct, yes, that’s correct.
Q: Did anyone in my office on July of this year, excuse me, July of 2000, ever ask you to make an identification of anyone in the lineup or tell you to pick anyone out of the lineup?
Q: When you saw that picture in the paper and recognized the eyes, you thought this was the one, did you tell anybody about that?
(Yep. Another recovery – get him to say he told his wife.)
A: No, the only person I told was my spouse.
Q: So the first time you told anybody connected to this case about it would have been in my office in July?
A: That’s correct.
Susan Claycomb had a private lawyer who did an excellent job defending her, and she was found not guilty, based on the fact that they would have had to prove Snow committed the crime. In fact, Jamie’s public defender was paid thousands of dollars to sit in on Susan’s trial, and didn’t use all of the evidence presented in her case.
In Snow’s co-defendants trial, Martinez testified that he was “85%” sure who he saw was Snow. In Jamie Snow’s trial, Martinez testified that he was “100%” sure who he saw was Snow.
In 2004, Jamie went pro se, and received his discovery while in prison. That is the first time he heard the 1999 Pelo interview. It was not used in his case.
After being contacted by Snow in 2007, Pelo wrote Snow a letter stating “You are correct. I did not see anyone inside the Clark Station nor did I see anyone backing out of the station, nor did I see Martinez come face to face with anyone in the parking lot. I did see Martinez walk toward the station after he paused to look back at his car there was no one around him.”
Pelo’s letter to Jamie: LETTER_Pelo_10-1-07.pdf
And finally, Pelo submitted a written affidavit affirming these facts.
Pelo’s affidavit: Aff_Pelo_11-18-09.pdf
In 2008, The University of Chicago’s Exoneration Project accepted Jamie’s case.
Please continue to explore this website, ask questions, we will answer.