Oklahoma Set to Execute Richard Glossip After Failed Appeals

30 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Man convicted of ordering boss’ killing set for execution.

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma death row inmate has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt his Wednesday execution after the state’s highest criminal court decided not to give him a new hearing, despite delaying his execution two weeks ago when his attorneys said they had new evidence. The case of Glossip, 52, is the latest to draw national attention after a series of botched lethal injections put the death penalty under increased scrutiny. If Glossip is killed, it would be the first execution in Oklahoma since the nation’s highest court upheld the state’s three-drug lethal injection formula. The seemingly thin evidence that led to Glossip’s conviction has also drawn the attention of celebrities like Susan Sarandon, George Takei and former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer.

Glossip has long claimed he was framed by hotel handyman Justin Sneed, who admitted to fatally beating Van Treese with a baseball bat, but said he did so only after Glossip promised him $10,000. With a dearth of physical evidence, Glossip was convicted primarily on testimony given by Justin Sneed, 38, who was given a life sentence in exchange for his confession that Glossip hired him to beat Van Treese to death. Just hours before Glossip was originally scheduled to be executed on Sept. 16, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals granted a two-week reprieve to review his claims of new evidence in the case, including another inmate’s assertion that he overheard Sneed admit to framing Glossip. An argument filed to an Oklahoma appeals court included a signed affidavit from a convict in Sneed’s prison claiming that Sneed had been “bragging about how Glossip took the fall” for Van Treese’s murder, Sister Helen Prejean, Glossip’s spiritual adviser, told Al Jazeera ahead of his original execution date earlier this month.

But in a 3-2 decision earlier this week, the same court denied Glossip’s request for an evidentiary hearing and emergency stay of execution, paving the way for his execution to proceed. Glossip was twice convicted of ordering the killing, once in 1998 and again in 2004, and sentenced to death both times, according to state Department of Corrections records.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt urged the high court to not stop the execution, arguing that another delay for Glossip would amount to a “travesty of justice.” Gov. Glossip has maintained his innocence, and his attorneys contend prosecutors leaned too heavily on Sneed’s testimony, which is the only concrete evidence linking Glossip to the murder. “We know Mr.

Over and over again, courts have rejected his arguments and the information he has presented to support them.” “If they kill Richard today, or if they don’t, the landscape has changed, because it will be an excellent example of how you can kill an innocent man. Glossip was the lead plaintiff in a separate case in which his attorneys argued the sedative midazolam did not adequately render an inmate unconscious before the second and third drugs were administered. Oklahoma first used midazolam last year in the execution of Clayton Lockett, who writhed on the gurney, moaned and clenched his teeth for several minutes before prison officials tried to halt the process.

Some states switched to midazolam in recent years after foreign pharmaceutical companies began restricting access to pentobarbital, which was often used in lethal injection cocktails in the U.S. But two of the court’s liberal justices also noted they would be open to a legal challenge to the death penalty’s constitutionality in the future, meaning Glossip may have opened the door for a separate landmark court case.

In the letter, Glossip’s attorneys point to a second affidavit that supposedly undermines Sneed’s testimony, and highlight his struggles with drug addiction at the time of the killing. “Gov. We know from the outpouring of support that we have seen and from the massive publicity that this case has generated, that the entire world is now watching,” the attorneys wrote. “They have passed their verdict in this case and that verdict is not guilty.

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