Oklahoma Court Denies New Evidence Hearing for Death Row Inmate Richard Glossip
Oklahoma’s criminal appeals court has denied a motion by death row prisoner Richard Glossip for a new evidentiary hearing to consider the possibility that he’s innocent of murder and shouldn’t be executed.
Glossip has been on death row for most of the past 24 years, having been convicted in 1998 for orchestrating the murder of Oklahoma City hotel owner Barry Van Treese. Glossip was never accused of directly killing Van Treese. He was convicted of convincing Justin Sneed (who was 19 at the time), the maintenance man of the hotel where Glossip was the manager, to do the deed, with Glossip saying they would split Van Treese’s money.
Glossip has maintained his innocence. Sneed’s testimony has served as the primary evidence against Glossip. Sneed himself was sentenced to life in prison, and Glossip’s lawyers have argued that detectives investigating the case essentially fed Sneed the story to blame Glossip to deflect full responsibility.
Though Glossip was first convicted in 1998, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals tossed out his conviction due to the poor evidence and he was retried. He was nevertheless convicted again in 2004.
The lack of much evidence outside of Sneed’s testimony has lent a lot of credibility to claims of Glossip’s innocence, and in the past year, a pack of bipartisan lawmakers (several of whom support the death penalty) have been calling for another review of the evidence. Bolstering Glossip’s claims was a report from law firm Reed Smith detailing many problems with the case. In August they unearthed what appears to be a 2007 letter from Sneed to Gina K. Walker, who was his public defender, suggesting that he was rethinking his testimony, calling it a “mistake,” and asking to meet with her.
Subsequently, Gov. Kevin Stitt ordered a two-month stay of Glossip’s execution, which had been scheduled for Sept. 22, for his innocence to be considered. On Nov. 3, Stitt granted a second two-month stay as the legal proceedings continued. H
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