Reasonable Doubt is investigating the murder of Carolyn Sue Roberts in Edmond, Oklahoma, in 1974. The following year Glynn Simmons and Don Roberts were convicted of the crime.
Since the murder, many serious questions and doubts have been raised about the validity of those two convictions. Some have wondered if the detectives at the time had felt under pressure to make an arrest and therefore made mistakes.
Simmons and Roberts were convicted almost solely on the testimony and identification of one eyewitness. However, due to the frequent unreliability of witness identifications, this evidence would not have been enough to convict in 2021.
On December 30, 1974, two men held up a liquor store in Edmond, OK, and in the process, they shot two women; the store clerk Carolyn Roberts and a customer, Belinda Brown. Thankfully, Brown survived her injuries, despite receiving a gunshot to the back of the head, and would become instrumental in securing a conviction. Unfortunately, Roberts did not survive.
Brown later picked Simmons and Roberts out of a police lineup, despite only seeing the killers for a split second. A third witness, Norma Hankins, said she only saw the gun and refused to point her finger at the two suspects.
Despite lack of evidence Glynn Simmons and Don Roberts were found guilty
Despite the lack of physical evidence and the suspects’ protestations, a jury found both men guilty of first-degree murder, and they were sentenced to death by electric chair.
Roberts was from Oklahoma City, and Simmons was originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. The latter claimed he had only arrived in Oklahoma six days after the murder and that he had never been to Edmond or even heard of the place.
In 1977, Simmons and Roberts’ had their life sentences commuted to life in prison. Don Roberts was paroled after 33 years, but Simmons remains in prison and still claims he is innocent. Now the team at Reasonable Doubt is looking into the case.
More from Reasonable Doubt
Follow the links to read about more murder cases with dubious convictions that were examined on Reasonable Doubt.
Kara Girvan was convicted of slaughtering three members of the Mollett family in their trailer in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. The cops say she was robbing drugs from the Mollett’s, but her family says she’s innocent.
Irene Opalinska disapproved of her daughter Darota Opalinska Chaban marrying William Chaban, and the police believe this may be one of the reasons why Chaban killed her. Darota initially suspected her new husband was the killer but now believes he is innocent.
Reasonable Doubt airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.