Will Oklahoma Spare Richard Glossip’s Life in Light of Mounting Doubt over his Guilt?


UPDATE: The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has issued a two-week stay.

Richard Glossip, an Oklahoma man on death row for a murder conviction which has come under widespread scrutiny, is scheduled to be executed by the state at 3:00 this afternoon.

Tulsa World

reports that Glossip lost one of his last chances for a stay of execution yesterday after Governor Mary Fallin rejected his request for a 60-day stay. Glossip’s attorneys filed another round of appeals late yesterday in an effort to gain a post-conviction review of Glossip’s case.

Glossip was convicted of murder for the 1977 death of motel owner Barry Van Treese, although he was not the one who actually carried out the murder. Van Treese was bludgeoned to death by Justin Sneed, a 19-year-old who claimed that Glossip had hired him to murder Van Treese. Sneed, who was also convicted of the murder, testified against Glossip at trial alleging that Glossip was the mastermind of the operation.


letter to Governor Fallin

, which was co-signed by Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck, Sen. Tom Coburn, Barry Switzer, John W. Raley, Jr. and Samuel Gross, expresses serious concern over the validity of Glossip’s conviction. Sneed’s testimony was the most compelling piece of evidence that led to Glossip’s conviction, which supporters of a stay of execution argue is highly questionable evidence since Sneed was allowed to plead guilty and avoid a death sentence for the murder in exchange for his testimony against Glossip.

Tulsa World

writes that there was no direct evidence which ties Glossip to the crime scene and therefore Sneed’s testimony is the only real evidence implicating Glossip.

The letter to Governor Fallin stresses the obligation of the state to fully investigate any questions to the case before running the grave risk of executing an innocent man:

Last year a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences estimated that 4.1 percent of defendants who are sentenced to death in the United States are innocent, one in 25 or more than 300 death-sentenced defendants since 1973. Most of them, like most of all defendants who are sentenced to death, have not been exonerated or executed. They remain in prison or have died of other causes. But with that error rate among death sentences, there’s no doubt that we have put innocent people to death. We don’t know how many or who they all are, but it has happened. We also don’t know for sure whether Richard Glossip is innocent or guilty. That is precisely the problem. If we keep executing defendants in cases like this, where the evidence of guilt is tenuous and untrustworthy, we will keep killing innocent people.

Read the full story here.

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Janice Webster November 24, 2020 at 2:59 pm Reply   

What is being done now in 2020 to try to free Ricard ?

Margaret Frost April 19, 2017 at 8:09 pm Reply   

I just watched a documentary on TV about this case!! I was appalled at the Detectives railroading of this poor innocent man! he did not like Richard from the start and during the interview constantly bullied Richard; it was obvious to a blind man this young man was being polite, cooperative. But the detective had in his mind he was guilty!!! then he mentioned his name to the real murderer!!!! TALK ABOUT AN INJUSTICE…………. VERY VERY SAD this detective should be ashamed of himself!!! God Bless Richard and I pray he gets out of prison soon as possible!! And be should sue the police dept!!!!!!! Margaret Frost

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