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Black Water



On Easter Sunday, 1991, 18 year old gas station attendant William Little was shot and killed during an apparent armed robbery that yielded $92. Eight years later Jamie Snow was convicted despite eye witness contradictions, no DNA, no murder weapon and a seasoned police officer testifying that Snow was not seen fleeing from the gas station. Below are the major facts of the case.

  • Jamie Snow’s co-defendant was found not guilty in a previous trial based on the same evidence. She testified for Jamie in his own trial.


  • Jamie Snow passed a polygraph exam in 1994. At least two informants failed polygraphs, and the state did not disclose this evidence to the defense.


  • There is no physical evidence linking Jamie to this crime (blood, fingerprints, bullets, and shoeprints were gathered from the crime scene – nothing ever matched Jamie), and the state continues to deny motions for testing of physical evidence as well as motions for discovery. We currently have a DNA motion submitted to McLean County Circuit Court.


  • The prosecution’s “star witness” Danny Martinez failed to identify Jamie during an in-person line up shortly after the crime, and numerous photo books over the years in which his picture was included. In fact, the day after the crime, he identified these two suspects stating, “It’s between these two.”. He did NOT identify Jamie until nearly 10 YEARS LATER in a private meeting at the state’s attorney’s office. Then ID Witness Issue is covered here.


  • The composite and description released to the public changed substantially over the years to better fit Jamie’s description (no earring in left ear and no chin scar). In December 1993, when the composite was changed, Police Spokesman Ogg expressed concern, saying 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.


  • This life sentence was also based on unreliable witness testimony from “jailhouse informants.”


  • Even the first police officer on the scene has submitted a sworn affidavit contradicting the “star witness testimony.


  • More than 17 witnesses for the prosecution have recanted their testimony in sworn affidavits.


  • Jamie’s original trial lawyer, Frank Picl, was put in prison in 2006 for bilking an elderly woman of her life savings – he served as her power of attorney. He admitted repeatedly that he had mental illness, was an alcoholic (drinking between 5-8 hours per day), and had a severe gambling problem. He also admitted to being under tremendous pressure from working on a murder trial and that this was all prior to Jamie’s trial. You can hear what Judge Knecht said about this issue in the Appellate Court hearing.

A failed defense and improper prosecution has resulted in a man serving more than 23 years so far for a crime he did not commit. The murderer of William Little remains free as Jamie Snow is locked behind bars for life.

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