Published January 14, 2015
Jorge Galindo (search) was sentenced Wednesday to death for his role in the 2002 deaths of five people at a Norfolk bank branch.
Galindo, 23, was sentenced by a three-judge panel, which supported a Madison County jury's decision last December that Galindo should die in the state's electric chair.
He showed no emotion as the verdict was read.
Galindo was convicted of five counts of first-degree murder in December for his part in the shooting deaths of four U.S. Bank (search) employees and one customer the morning of Sept. 26, 2002. The failed bank heist was one of the deadliest in U.S. history.
District Judges Robert Ensz of Wayne, Jeffre Cheuvront of Lincoln and Kristine Cecava of Sidney issued their ruling Wednesday after hearing arguments last month over whether Galindo should be executed.
Ensz said the panel rejected all but one of Galindo's arguments against the death penalty. The judge said the panel accepted, in part, Galindo's argument that he had cooperated with police after the killings. However, Ensz said the panel gave that point little weight because Galindo showed no remorse for his crimes.
Galindo shot assistant bank manager Lola Elwood at her desk as he and two other gunmen fanned out at the U.S. Bank branch, prosecutors said. Surveillance tapes indicate the gunmen were in the bank for only 40 seconds, and no money was taken.
Also killed were Evonne Tuttle, a bank customer, and bank employees Jo Mausbach, Samuel Sun and Lisa Bryant.
Madison County Attorney Joe Smith had argued that no killer on Nebraska's death row had so many victims as Galindo and his accomplices.
Defense attorney Doug Stratton had argued that Galindo should be sentenced to five terms of life in prison, noting Galindo's cooperation with police and saying Galindo's judgment was clouded by methamphetamine (search) and that he had faced pressure from ringleader Jose Sandoval.
Stratton said Wednesday he would appeal the sentence on a number of constitutional issues raised during Galindo's trial.
Others convicted in the case include Sandoval and Erick Vela, each convicted of five counts of first-degree murder. Juries have found them eligible for the death penalty, and they await final sentencing hearings.
Vela's attorneys argue he has a low IQ and cannot be put to death, but Smith is seeking court permission for an independent evaluation.
A fourth man convicted in the killings, Gabriel Rodriguez, acted as a lookout. He has been sentenced to five consecutive life sentences.