By Amy Berberyan
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – After an investigation yielded new evidence concerning the case for death row inmate Richard Glossip, his attorney, Don Knight, is calling for a court trial before setting his client’s new execution date.
In 1997, Glossip—a manager at Best Budget Inn—was convicted of allegedly hiring Justin Sneed, the maintenance man, to beat to death the motel owner, Barry Van Treese, with a baseball bat.
Sneed confessed to the crime to avoid the death penalty, and claimed Glossip was behind the plot to kill Van Treese. He said Glossip had promised to pay him $10,000 for the murder.
Glossip was convicted and sentenced to death in 1998, though the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals voted to unanimously throw out this conviction in 2001 because Glossip received “unconstitutionally ineffective assistance of counsel.”
However, in 2004, a second jury again convicted Glossip and he was again sentenced to death. This time, in 2007, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals voted to maintain the conviction.
Due to this case primarily relying on Sneed’s testimony, many have questioned whether or not he committed the murder and lied about Glossip’s cooperation to avoid the death penalty himself.
Sneed was addicted to methamphetamine at the time of Van Reese’s murder and noted to have broken into cars in the inn’s parking lot during his time working there.
In Glossip v. Gross, which took place in 2015, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that lethal injections involving midazolam did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment, as outlined in the Eighth Amendment.
Later that year, Glossip received three stays of execution as controversy rose around Oklahoma breaking protocol with its lethal injections.
Defense Attorney Knight said, “We respectfully disagree with the decision of the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to set an execution date for Richard Glossip before the findings of the Reed Smith Report on his case, and new evidence of his innocence, can be heard in a court of law.”
Knight referred to an investigation spanning 3,000 pro bono hours and involving 30 respected attorneys from “nationally renowned law firm Reed Smith.”
These attorneys had found the police investigation “riddled with errors and neglect, detectives with fatal ‘tunnel vision,’ a reckless prosecution, unconscionable destruction of evidence, a miserable failure by Glossip’s court-appointed attorneys, and new evidence showing that Rich Glossip had nothing to do with the murder.”
Citing Glossip’s three previous execution dates, Knight maintained it would not “serve justice” to establish a fourth before this new evidence was considered in court.
“Public reaction to this new evidence makes it clear that the Oklahomans, even those who support the death penalty, do not want to see an innocent man executed,” Knight said. “We implore the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to strike Richard Glossip’s execution date until this information can be fully considered.”
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