Oklahoma once again denies death row inmate Richard Glossip’s appeal for a new trial

An Oklahoma court on Thursday denied a request for a new trial by Richard Glossip, a death row inmate who has long maintained his innocence in the 1997 murder-for-hire of his former boss at an Oklahoma City motel.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals denied Glossip’s fifth request for post-conviction relief in the case, leaving him with little choice but to appeal to the US Supreme Court or receive clemency from the governor to avoid his execution, which is scheduled for May 18.

“This case has been thoroughly investigated and reviewed on numerous appeals,” the court wrote in its ruling.

“Your new application does not provide additional information that would cause this Court to vacate your conviction or sentence.”

Earlier this month, Oklahoma attorney Gentner Drummond petitioned the court for a new trial for Glossip, arguing that the state’s key witness, a handyman named Justin Sneed, lied about his mental health and drug use. .

“This is not to say that I believe (Glossip) is innocent,” the official said in a statement at the time. “Considering everything I know about this case, I do not believe justice will be done by executing a man based on the testimony of a compromising witness.”

Glossip’s lawyers condemned the ruling.

“Given that the State now accepts that the sole witness alleging that Mr. Glossip was involved in this crime cannot be believed, it is inconceivable that the court would attempt to compel the State to go ahead with his execution,” Don Knight wrote in a letter. release. to the independent. “We cannot allow this long-standing injustice to go unchallenged, and we will seek a review of this grossly unfair ruling in the Supreme Court of the United States.”

Many state officials, including the vast majority of Oklahoma’s largely Republican legislature, believe Glossip is innocent.

Allies point to problems in the case such as a lack of physical evidence or witnesses linking Glossip to the brutal murder of Van Treese.

Jurors were also never aware of the police’s aggressive and possibly coercive questioning of Sneed, who, according to his fellow inmates, later boasted that he committed the crime of his own free will, not, as police argue, at the behest of by Glossip.

Sneed, the main source of evidence in the state’s case, appeared to consider changing his conviction on several points, writing to his lawyers in 2003: “Parts of me are curious that if I choose to do this again, do I have the option of reciting my testimony at any time in my life, or something like that.”

(Oklahoma Department of Corrections)

Last summer, an outside investigation, requested by state legislators, of the Reed Smith law firm, with 30 attorneys working on 12,000 documents, found reams of new information about the case, raising serious questions about whether Oklahoma was about to execute an innocent man.

“Our conclusion is that no reasonable jury, upon hearing the entire file and the uncovered facts … would have convicted Richard Glossip of capital murder,” Reed Smith’s attorney, Stan Perry, said in June.

Glossip’s execution was postponed multiple times, including one instance in 2015 when state officials were about to use the wrong cocktail of lethal injection drugs.

The mix-up was part of a series of mistakes that led the state to suspend executions for nearly seven years.

The Independent and the non-profit organization Business initiative responsible for justice (RBIJ) have launched a joint campaign to call for an end to the death penalty in the United States. The RBIJ has attracted more than 150 known signatories to its Business Leaders Statement Against the Death Penalty, with The Independent last on the list. We’ve joined high-profile executives like Ariana Huffington, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson as part of this initiative and are committed to highlighting the injustices of the death penalty in our coverage.

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