Oklahoma

Richard Glossip survives eighth execution date in Oklahoma

A new execution date for death row inmate Richard Glossip has been set after the Oklahoma Court of Appeals agreed to slow the pace of the state’s upcoming executions.

Glossip’s execution was scheduled for February 16, but the court postponed it to May 18 in an order issued Tuesday.

This is the ninth time Glossip has been scheduled to be executed since 2014. In September 2015, he was just hours away from his execution when prison officials realized they had been given the wrong deadly drug. This mix-up helped trigger a nearly seven-year moratorium on Oklahoma’s death penalty that ended in October 2021.

Glossip’s new execution date comes after new Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond asked the court to allow at least 60 days between executions, arguing that carrying out one execution a month was “unsustainable”. Last year, the court set execution dates for 25 inmates about a month apart until 2024.

Richard Glossip
Richard Glossip’s execution was postponed to May 18, Oklahoma’s ninth execution date since 2014.
Oklahoma Correctional Facility

Glossip’s attorney, Don Knight, welcomed the court ruling but said his client was an innocent man who should not be executed.

“We deeply appreciate Attorney General Drummond’s efforts to recognize that the current pace of executions is unsustainable,” Knight said news week in an opinion.

“Although we are grateful for today’s verdict of the [Court of Criminal Appeals] Resetting Richard Glossip’s execution date does not change the fact that an innocent man remains on death row at risk of execution,” Knight said.

Glossip was sentenced to death for the 1997 murder of motel owner Barry Van Treese.

An independent investigation by Texas law firm Reed Smith has raised concerns about lost or destroyed evidence, Knight pointed out, adding that a detective asked Glossip’s co-defendant Justin Sneed lead questions in an attempt to implicate Glossip in the killing.

Sneed admitted to killing Van Treese but said he did so on Glossip’s orders. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and was a key witness against Glossip.

“Rich’s murder-for-hire conviction was found untenable by the international law firm Reed Smith,” Knight said. “We look forward to using the time we have now to work with the state to fully investigate Rich’s wrongful conviction. We know no one in Oklahoma wants to execute an innocent man.”

Glossip’s attorneys have asked the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals for a new evidentiary hearing in light of the investigation’s findings.

More than 60 state lawmakers, including many pro-death penalty, have called for a new hearing of evidence in the Glossip case.

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