Glossip obtains a temporary stay of execution


Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Glossip. (Oklahoma Department of Corrections via AP/File)

Governor Kevin Stitt has granted death row inmate Richard Glossip another temporary reprieve, pushing back his scheduled execution until February 2023.

The action will give an appeals court more time to consider Glossip’s claim of innocence.

Stitt, who is locked in a tough re-election contest, issued an executive order on Wednesday delaying Glossip’s execution, which was scheduled for Nov. 21. A clemency hearing for Glossip that was scheduled before the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board next week will also be postponed.

Glossip received the death sentence for the 1997 murder-for-hire of his boss, motel owner Barry Van Treese. Prosecutors agree that Glossip did not kill Van Treese, but argue that he paid hotel maintenance man Justin Sneed to do so. Sneed, who received a life sentence but was spared the death penalty, was a key witness in two separate trials that led to Glossip’s conviction.

Attorney General John O’Connor said in a statement that he respects the governor’s decision but remains confident in Glossip’s guilt.

“After 25 years, justice still awaits for Barry Van Treese and his family,” O’Connor said. “Mr. Van Treese was in a room at the motel he owned when he was brutally murdered with a baseball bat by Justin Sneed, an individual whom Richard Glossip hired to work at the motel and later enlisted to commit the murder. Two different juries convicted Glossip of murder-for-hire.

Glossip asked the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals for a new evidentiary hearing following the release of an independent investigation by Houston law firm Reed Smith that raised new questions about his guilt. The firm’s report found no definitive evidence of Glossip’s innocence, but raised concerns about lost or destroyed evidence and a detective asking leading questions of Sneed to implicate Glossip in the murder.

“The newly uncovered evidence shows a concerted effort by the state to destroy and hide evidence favorable to Rich, even to this day, and, most shockingly, to fabricate the testimony they needed to convict him,” the statement said. Glossip’s lawyer, Don Knight. said in a statement. “There is now overwhelming support for what Reed Smith concluded after his thorough investigation – that no reasonable juror who heard all the evidence would convict him.”

A bipartisan group of 62 Oklahoma lawmakers, led by Republican state Rep. Kevin McDugle, signed a request for a new evidentiary hearing to be granted.

Glossip, now 59, has long maintained his innocence. He was scheduled to be executed three separate times, to be spared shortly before the sentence was set. He was just hours away from his execution in September 2015 when prison officials realized they had been given the wrong deadly drug, a mix-up that helped trigger a nearly seven-year moratorium on the sentence. of death in Oklahoma.


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