TOPEKA (AP) – An attorney for a man sentenced to die over the killings of a Great Bend couple in 2004 says he should get a new trial because a cousin involved in the crimes reneged on a plea agreement.
Capital appellate defender Sarah Ellen Johnson told the Kansas Supreme Court Friday that Sidney Gleason did not get a fair trial before he was sentenced to death in 2006.
She argued the defense couldn’t question Gleason’s cousin, Damien Thompson, because he refused to testify at trial. Thompson had struck a deal to testify to avoid a possible death sentence.
The murder victims were Miki Martinez and boyfriend Darren Wornkey. Their deaths were days after a robbery at which Martinez was present.
Prosecutors say Gleason and Thompson worried about what Martinez would tell police.
Gleason also has two family members in trouble in other Kansas counties.
Jason Gleason is charged with attempted first-degree murder for shooting at the trooper after crashing his SUV near Gypsum. The officer returned fire, and two people in the SUV were injured. That case is in Saline County. He is also suspected in the robbery of a bank in Rice County.
In Reno County, 31-year-old Justin Gleason entered a plea of no contest to 23-counts involving three case that included such charges as attempted aggravated robbery, blackmail, and aggravated battery.
Gleason was facing trial in the three cases and he told the judge Friday Afternoon that he felt this was the best option for him. He could be looking at 140-plus months in prison
He entered pleas of possession of cocaine with intent to sell within a thousand feet of a school, possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a firearm, no tax stamp, possession of stolen property, possession of hydrocodone and possession of drug paraphernalia. Allegedly drugs were found in the small home he lived in on 11th near Hutchinson High School. The crimes involving the drugs occurring on February 26th.
In a separate case, Gleason enter a no contest pleas to seven counts of criminal discharge of a firearm, criminal possession of a firearm, and one count of aggravated battery. He allegedly fired 14-rounds at the home in the south part of the city back on February 26 where 7-people had gathered, including two kids. One man had to have surgery to remove a bullet from his foot.
In a third case, he entered no contest pleas on charges of attempted robbery, attempted aggravated burglary, criminal threat and blackmail, aggravated burglary, robbery, and aggravated battery. On December 14 and 15, of last year, he allegedly sent text messages to the victim and told him he better have additional money, and was coming over to collect. Steve Maxwell alleges he was extorting money from the victim over a rental car agreement.
Again, he entered no contest pleas to 23-counts and sentencing will be on November 2.