Here’s an excerpt from Don Bradley’s story in today’s Kansas City Star about 74-year-old Glenn Stevens of Raymore, Mo., who faces extremely flimsy charges of stealing goods from three Walmarts and is a suspect in thefts at nearly 20 other stores.
After that first night in the Cass County jail in Harrisonville, Glenn was loaded into a crowded van and transported to Morgan County. He said a police officer told him that he would get a chance to prove his innocence. Glenn thought it worked the other way — that the state had to prove his guilt. But he’s prepared either way.
Actually, Stevens is right. And it’s pretty shocking that he got charged in these thefts, although he doesn’t own the getaway vehicle, he doesn’t look like the theft in a surveillance video, and he was supposedly fingered by his brother, Charles, and Glenn doesn’t have a brother named Charles.
Also, his family and his attorneys claim that cell phone records, a bank deposit slip and a dinner receipt would show that Stevens was nowhere near the Walmarts he supposedly knocked off.
Wouldn’t you think prosecutors would give the guy a chance to present his alibi before charging him with a crime, making him spend nights in jail, and forcing Stevens, his wife and children to ante up $70,000 in legal fees and costs to cover their nighttime cleaning business?
Two of the prosecutors involved are showing signs of backing down. Prosecutor Jerry Hathaway of Allen County, Kan., agreed that the case against Stevens looked “fishy,” and said he would drop the charge in his jurisdiction if nothing more substantive turned up.
That’s good. But Hathaway and the other prosecutors should have insisted on the higher standard in the first place.