Richard Glossip, a death row inmate from Oklahoma, had a message for those advocating his innocence last year: “God has spared me many times, and I know He will spare me again. ”
Glossip, 59, was referring to his state’s three failed attempts to kill himself over the past 25 years. The first, in 2015, was delayed due to a Supreme Court case against the state. The second, later that year, was suspended only three hours before Glossip was put to death. A new execution date was set for the same month, but was later canceled after the state discovered they had the wrong drug.
Now Oklahoma is ready to try again. In early July, officials set its Fourth execution date, September 22. Glossip is one of 25 inmates scheduled for execution in Oklahoma over the next 29 months.
Glossip was convicted of murder-for-hire after a hitman named Justin Sneed testified that Glossip paid him to kill Barry Van Treese, owner of the motel where Glossip worked, in 1997. In exchange for the testimony of Sneed vs. Glossip, Sneed was sentenced to life in prison. . Glossip, however, was sentenced to death in 2004.
There has also been unprecedented bipartisan support for Glossip in Oklahoma — 34 lawmakers, including 28 Republicans, want him retried — as well as persistent claims that he is innocent.
“If we put Richard Glossip to death, I will fight in this state to abolish the death penalty, simply because the process is not pure,” Oklahoma Republican Rep. Kevin McDugle said in June.
When Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt refused to order a new investigation into the Glossip case, Oklahoma lawmakers asked an outside law firm to review the evidence. This report – based on a review of 12,000 documents, 36 witness interviews, seven juror interviews and other evidence concluded that the “Glossip lawsuit cannot be relied upon to support a murder-for-hire conviction. Nor can it provide a basis for the government to take the life of Richard E. Glossip. There have also been allegations that prosecutors destroyed vital evidence during Glossip’s trial.
Courts have overturned or exonerated 11 death row inmates in the same county where Glossip was sentenced, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. “Snitch testimony,” which involves an incarcerated individual testifying against someone else, is also the leading cause of wrongful convictions in capital cases, accounting for 45% of wrongful death sentences since 1973, according to Innocence Project.
Glossip’s new execution date comes after a judge ruled the state was indeed capable of carrying out executions using lethal injections, despite a barrage of lawsuits arguing that the lack of drugs and proper protocols has led to a series of botched executions and constitutes “cruel and unusual” punishment under the Eighth Amendment.
Glossip became the lead plaintiff in the landmark 2015 case Glossip v. Gross, after an autopsy showed Oklahoma used the wrong drug to stop Charles Warner’s heart. In this opinion, Judge Stephen Breyer dissented from the court’s ruling that the use of midazolam to kill death row inmates was neither cruel nor unusual.
The State Was So Determined To Kill Glossip It Wanted To Use The Wrong Drug Again in his third scheduled execution before the governor at the time. Mary Fallin stopped him at the last minute.
“Richard Glossip has already gone through three torturous run dates. It does not serve justice to set a fourth execution date for an innocent man before all of this new evidence can be fully considered by a court,” Glossip’s attorney Don Knight said in a statement. “The public reaction to this new evidence makes it clear that Oklahomans, even those who support the death penalty, do not want to see an innocent person executed.”
Either way, Glossip is about to embark on the same process it’s been through three times already: getting closer to the execution chamber cell by cell, being watched 24/7, and say goodbye to loved ones.
For his last meal, Glossip will likely order the same four dishes he chose each time: fish and chips, Wendy’s Baconator, strawberry shake and pizza.
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