OKLAHOMA CITY — After delivering a 342-page report detailing all the reasons Richard Glossip shouldn’t be executed, State Rep. Kevin McDugle paused, took a breath, and delivered an impassioned plea.
“I just want to say thank you,” McDugle told Stan Perry, an attorney at the Houston-based law firm that prepared the report pro bono, Reed Smith.
“We have an individual sitting on death row who has been there for 25 years, and I believe he is completely innocent,” McDugle, R-Broken Arrow, said at a press conference. “Help me fight and do all we can to get Richard Glossip off death row.”
Glossip is scheduled to run on September 30.
McDugle supports the death penalty, he said, but he will work to abolish it if Glossip is executed by the state of Oklahoma.
“If we put Richard Glossip to death, I will fight in this state to abolish the death penalty simply because the process is not pure,” McDugle said. “If we’re going to put people to death, we have to make sure that we have a pure process and that the people put to death deserve…
“I believe in the death penalty, I believe it should be there,” McDugle said, “but the process of taking someone to death had better be of the highest integrity.”
Glossip’s case gained national attention as the subject of a documentary series that aired on Investigation Discovery in 2017. Kill Richard Glossip. Although the evidence clearly shows that another man, Justin Sneed, murdered Barry Van Treese, Glossip was convicted on Sneed’s word that Glossip ordered him to kill Van Treese.
Reed Smith assembled a team of more than 30 lawyers who spent more than 3,000 hours compiling the report, which they say proves misconduct, errors and outright manipulation by law enforcement officials. order to wrongly pin the crime on Glossip.
Reed Smith’s report highlights areas where Oklahoma’s justice system could be improved to prevent innocent people from being executed. Recommendations include reviewing the evidence by a third party and barring those implicated in a certain conviction from voting on the case as a member of the Pardons and Parole Board.
McDugle said he had introduced legislation in the past to address shortcomings in the judicial process regarding the death penalty, but so far his efforts “have come to nothing”.
Glossip’s name was second on a list of 25 death row inmates for whom Attorney General John O’Connor requested execution dates in June, after a federal judge ruled that the lethal injection protocol of the state was constitutional.
Glossip narrowly avoided execution in 2015, when prison officials realized they had been given the deadly wrong drug. All executions in Oklahoma have been temporarily suspended after a series of botched executions challenged the constitutionality of the state’s lethal injection protocol.
What happens next is uncertain.
“Honestly, I don’t know what the next step is,” Perry said. “It’s never too late until the person is executed. … In our minds, it’s not too late to do justice.