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Death Penalty Opponents Fight To Exonerate Oklahoma Death Row Inmate

Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Eugene Glossip
Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Lawyers for an Oklahoma death row inmate are searching for ways to exonerate a man scheduled to die in September. The execution will be the first after the Supreme Court’s ruling that upheld the use of the controversial drug midazolam. 

Richard Glossip has maintained his innocence since he was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1997 death of Oklahoma City motel owner Barry Van Treese.

Don Knight is a Colorado-based attorney who has taken up Glossip’s case. During a press conference at the Oklahoma Capitol Monday, Knight said the evidence against Glossip is paper-thin and the case itself never should have qualified for the death penalty.

“The thing that really stands out in this case, to me, as somebody who has done death penalty work for the last 15 years is how uncertain the evidence is, and yet a decision to pursue the death penalty was made and carried out,” Knight said.

Sister Helen Prejean was also at the Capitol. She serves as Glossip’s spiritual advisor. With just over two months until Glossip’s September 16 execution date, Prejean admits exoneration is a long shot.

“It's going to be really hard to get a hearing in these courts. They're going to say, ‘He's been through the courts,’” Prejean said.

“But I have met Richard Glossip, and I know Richard Glossip. And I know he should not die and he must not die."

Attorney Don Knight called Glossip's investigation and trial "deeply flawed" from the start. Glossip was convicted during two separate trials after the first was overturned for ineffective assistance of council.  

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