Legal /

Supreme Court Blocks the Execution of Richard Glossip in Oklahoma

Glossip was convicted for a 1997 murder-for-hire plot but questions about the fairness of his trial have prompted the Attorney General to ask the court to intervene

The United States Supreme Court has paused the execution of an Oklahoma death row inmate while it reviews his case.

Richard Glossip was scheduled to be put to death on May 18. Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond intervened, arguing to the nation’s highest Court that Glossip did not receive a fair trial.

The public interest is clearly served by not executing a man after the state has concluded that the conviction cannot be sustained,” Drummond wrote in his motion, per USA Today

An Oklahoma appeals court had already upheld his conviction and the pardon and parole board ultimately voted to reject his clemency request.

Glossip was found guilty of hiring Justin Sneed to kill his former boss, Barry Van Treese, in 1997. Van Treese was beaten to death in a motel room in Oklahoma City. Sneed testified against his co-worker Glossip in exchange for a life sentence. At trial, he said he robbed and murdered Van Treese because Glossip promised to pay him $10,000. Glossip was convicted of first-degree murder in 1998.

The Republican attorney general has said that he does not believe Glossip is innocent but has called his trial “unfair and unreliable.” Drummond said Sneed lied under oath during the case’s 2004 retrial about his psychiatric condition and about taking lithium, a mood-stabilizing drug, per WBALTV.

Representative Kevin McDugle, a Republican, said in June of 2022 that – despite his support for the death penalty – he would work to abolish the punishment if Oklahoma moved forward with Glossip’s execution. His comments came after attorneys from the international law firm Reed Smith released a 343-page report raising credible concerns about the case. 

“The investigative report confirmed in my mind that we do have an innocent man on death row,” Rep. McDugle said. “In my opinion, this entire case against Richard Glossip was manipulated by the detective in charge, and that Richard Glossip has now been behind bars because of the gross misconduct of the DA’s office and the investigation.”

Glossip, now 60 years old, has always maintained his innocence. 

According to The Intelligencer:

Glossip’s case attracted international attention after actress Susan Sarandon — who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of death penalty opponent Sister Helen Prejean in the 1995 movie ‘Dead Man Walking’ — took up his cause in real life. Prejean herself has served as Glossip’s spiritual adviser and frequently visited him in prison. His case also was featured in the 2017 documentary film ‘Killing Richard Glossip.’”

Reality television star and retail mogul Kim Kardashian tweeted her support for Glossip on April 24.

Richard Glossip needs our help, urgently! He has been on Oklahoma’s death row for 24 years for a crime he did not commit and is now scheduled to be executed on May 18th,” Kardashian wrote. “We cannot execute another man especially for a crime he didn’t commit!”

She asked her fans to contact Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and request he gives Glossip a full pardon.

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