Another Glossip Execution Reprieve after Claims of Prosecutorial Misconduct

By Amy Berberyan and Talia Kruger

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has issued an executive order for a second reprieve for Richard Glossip, a former motel manager who has been on death row since being convicted of the murder of his boss, Barry Van Treese, in 1997.

Glossip has been served his last meal on three different occasions and has had his execution date changed six times.

In one instance, his execution was delayed only moments before he was supposed to be lethally injected after the state had a mix-up with the injection drugs.

His conviction relied upon the testimony of Justin Sneed, the man who did kill Van Treese, according to Glossip’s lawyers who charged Sneed only implicated Glossip after being offered a plea deal for his testimony to save him from his own execution.

Before the incident, Glossip had no criminal record; Sneed had several burglaries on his own in addition to a methamphetamine addiction. Glossip’s lawyers claimed only Sneed’s forensic data was found at the scene of the crime, and there is no physical evidence tying Glossip to the scene of the crime.

Gov. Stitt stayed Glossip’s execution till Feb. 16, 2023, noting the ongoing need to allow the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals time to complete its review of the petition for a new hearing.

This decision came after Glossip’s lawyers said new evidence, including prosecutorial misconduct, came to light, supporting Glossip’s innocence.

Don Knight, Richard Glossip’s attorney, expressed gratitude for the governor’s decision stating, “We are extremely grateful to Gov. Stitt for once again issuing a 60-day reprieve for Richard Glossip, to assure that the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals can fully address the innocence and prosecutorial misconduct claims they are now reviewing.”

Knight also thanked the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, requesting an evidentiary hearing for Glossip, an appeal signed by 62 legislators, and  “Representatives McDugle and Humphrey’s ad hoc committee, whose investigators, the global law firm Reed Smith, continue to work pro bono for the people of Oklahoma.”

According to Knight, “The newly uncovered evidence shows a concerted effort by the State to destroy and hide evidence that is favorable to Rich, even to this day, and, most shockingly, to manufacture trial testimony they needed to convict him.”

 Knight cited the firm responsible for conducting the investigation, proclaiming, “There is now overwhelming support for what Reed Smith has concluded after its thorough investigation — that no reasonable juror who heard all the evidence would find him guilty.”

Knight added, “The defense team will continue to work to overturn this wrongful conviction and give Rich the fair trial he never received.”

Kevin McDugle, Oklahoma State Representative and leader of the Ad Hoc Legislative Committee, said he was “thankful for Governor Stitt’s wise decision to grant Richard Glossip a 60-day reprieve, to give the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals time to complete its work.”

He spoke on behalf of the 62 Oklahoma legislators who requested a new evidentiary hearing after learning about the new evidence available on the Glossip case.

McDugle added, “Every new day brings more evidence of Mr. Glossip’s innocence, and it is our hope that the OCCA rejects the Attorney General’s bogus arguments…”

When Oklahoma Attorney General John O’ Connor spoke about Sneed’s testimony, McDugle maintained that “the actual killer made this testimony to save his own life.” Despite efforts by the State, they have never found proof of Glossip commissioning or influencing Sneed.

McDugle added, “Sneed actually wrote letters after the first trial wanting to recant. He apparently never thought his lie would send Richard to death row, and appears to have regret for that after the fact. The state is choosing to believe the actual killer.”

“A new trial is warranted,” McDugle maintained. “Oklahomans–including both those who support and oppose the death penalty–will not tolerate Mr. Glossip being executed while there is so much proof that the police and district attorney lost and destroyed important evidence, wrongfully altered critical testimony, and continue to purposely hide evidence to this day.”

He concluded, “In the face of this overwhelming evidence now, more than ever, I urge the OCCA to either reverse his conviction entirely or quickly grant the full evidentiary hearing that his attorneys have requested.  This is the only way to begin to right this terrible wrong.”

Reed Smith, the firm that conducted the investigation, alongside the Oklahoma Ad Hoc committee, released its latest supplemental report in August, the fourth report issued by the firms.

The supplemental report contains expert testimony advocating for the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to conduct a new evidentiary hearing.

About The Author

Talia Kruger is a 3rd year Criminology major at UC Irvine. She plans to get her paralegal certification and enter the legal field before eventually applying to law school. Her aim is to become an environmental attorney or criminal defense attorney, and advocate for criminal justice reform.

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