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AG Derek Schmidt: State Supreme Court upholds conviction, death sentence of Sydney Gleason

Release Date: Feb 03, 2017

TOPEKA – (February 3, 2017) – The Kansas Supreme Court today upheld the capital murder conviction and death sentence of Sydney Gleason in the 2004 shooting deaths of two individuals in Barton County.

Gleason was convicted of capital murder in connection with the 2004 murders of Miki Martinez and Darren Wornkey in Barton County and was sentenced to death. In 2014, the Kansas Supreme Court overturned his death sentence, ruling that instructions given to the jury violated the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Kansas Attorney General’s Office asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the state Supreme Court’s decision. On October 7, 2015, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt argued the State’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which on January 20, 2016, ruled no Eighth Amendment violation had occurred and reversed the Kansas Supreme Court’s decision.

After the U.S. Supreme Court decision, the Kansas Supreme Court ordered further arguments in the case. Today’s decision upholds Gleason’s conviction and death sentence following those further arguments.

“The decision today affirms the conviction and death sentence based on a Barton County jury’s findings and moves this case along one step further,” Schmidt said. “The wheels of justice are turning.”

Gleason becomes the fourth person in Kansas whose sentence of death has been upheld by the Kansas Supreme Court since the death penalty was reinstated. The other three are Scott Cheever, John Robinson and Gary Kleypas.

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News releases issued prior to 2011 are available through an archive hosted by the Kansas State Library.