Richard Glossip in a 2015 interview. (Micah Leon / YouTube)
With just hours to spare before his scheduled execution, an Oklahoma appeals court granted a reprieve for death row inmate Richard Glossip.
According to the Associated Press, via AoL,
Richard Eugene Glossip was twice convicted of ordering the killing of Barry Van Treese, who owned the Oklahoma City motel where he worked. His co-worker, Justin Sneed, was convicted of fatally beating Van Treese and was a key prosecution witness in Glossip’s trials.
Glossip, 52, was scheduled to be executed at 3 p.m. But the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals agreed to delay the lethal injection after Glossip’s attorneys said they had new evidence. Among the material is a signed affidavit from another inmate, Michael Scott, who claims he heard Sneed say “he set Richard Glossip up, and that Richard Glossip didn’t do anything.”
The court said it granted the temporary stay “due to Glossip’s last-minute filing and in order for this court to give fair consideration” to his claims. The court rescheduled his execution for Sept. 30.
As Bill Blum recently wrote for Truthdig:
His case is the kind that should keep people of good conscience awake at night. Both morally and legally, it illustrates many of the most troubling flaws in our system of state-sanctioned killing: the risk of executing the innocent, the inadequate legal representation often provided to poor criminal defendants charged with the most serious offenses, the inconsistencies of the appeal process, and the cruelty of all forms of capital punishment.
…There was a problem for the prosecution in its quest to hold Glossip responsible for Van Treese’s demise: Glossip did not personally kill Van Treese, and there was no physical evidence connecting him to the incident in Room 102. Unable to show that Glossip had committed the homicide himself, the prosecution constructed an alternative scenario in which Glossip convinced Justin Sneed—a meth-addicted 19-year-old roofer who lived at the motel in exchange for maintenance work—to commit the crime for him by promising Sneed money and additional jobs.
Sneed was apprehended a week after Van Treese was slain. After he was taken to police headquarters, he was interrogated and was offered a deal that would spare him the death penalty if he confessed. He admitted to beating Van Treese with a baseball bat, but he fingered Glossip as the architect of a jointly made plan. Subsequent searches revealed that Sneed had possessed $1,700 in cash at the time of his arrest and that Glossip had had $1,200.
Although Glossip claimed his money had come from paychecks and the sale of personal items and that he had intended to use it to buy breast implants as a birthday present for his girlfriend, the police demurred. Certain that they had confirmed their theory—murder for hire—the authorities formally charged Glossip.
Read more on Glossip’s case here.
—Posted by Roisin Davis
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