Man who killed Omaha Officer Jimmy Wilson denied hearing to argue for new trial
LINCOLN — The former gang member convicted of killing Omaha Police Officer Jimmy Wilson Jr. in 1995 won’t get a hearing for a new trial, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled Friday.
Kevin L. Allen argued that he deserves a chance to present new evidence in the case and show how his trial lawyer provided ineffective assistance.
The court rejected his motion for post-conviction relief, ruling that Allen’s claims were without merit and had been unsuccessfully raised in the past.
Wilson, a 24-year-old rookie officer, was shot four times while sitting behind the wheel of his cruiser about 8 p.m. Aug. 20, 1995.
Wilson had just pulled over a van with expired plates near 40th and Blondo Streets when a gunman, later identified as Allen, leaped from the van and shot into the cruiser, spraying it with 11 bullets fired from a semi-automatic rifle. The officer’s seat belt was fastened, his gun holstered, a police radio in his hand.
A jury convicted the 18-year-old Allen of first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to life in prison after a judge determined that the circumstances of the case did not merit the death penalty. He was also given 19 to 20 additional years for using a firearm to commit a felony.
The State Supreme Court had previously affirmed Allen’s conviction and sentence on direct appeal.
Representing himself in his post-conviction motion, Allen, now 41, pointed out that investigators had obtained conflicting accounts from eyewitnesses and that prosecutors had initially charged a different man with Wilson’s murder. Allen argued that his trial lawyer was ineffective for failing to properly challenge testimony that identified him as the shooter and for not calling three witnesses who would have supported Allen’s claim of innocence.
The high court reviewed his argument and concluded that the testimony of two of the witnesses would not have changed the outcome of the verdict. The testimony of the third witness regarding polygraph tests would not have been allowed because polygraph results are not admissible in criminal cases.
“Allen’s claim that trial counsel was ineffective for declining to call these witnesses is without merit,” Supreme Court Judge Jeffrey Funke wrote in Friday’s opinion.
Wilson’s funeral brought more than 2,500 mourners to Creighton University, and thousands of dollars were donated in his name to buy protective equipment for other officers. He was the son of former homicide detective Jimmy Wilson Sr.