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Dozens Of Oklahoma Lawmakers Press For New Investigation Into Death Row Prisoner's Conviction

Oklahoma Department of Corrections
Richard Eugene Glossip

Thirty-four Oklahoma lawmakers are asking Governor Kevin Stitt and the Pardon and Parole Board to begin an independent investigation into a death row prisoner’s first-degree murder conviction.

The legislators believe evidence points to Richard Glossip’s innocence and argue that killing him without being absolutely certain of his guilt will "erode public trust" in Oklahoma’s justice system.

Glossip was convicted of hiring another man to murder hotel owner Barry Van Treese in 1997.

The primary evidence against Glossip is the word of Justin Sneed — the man who actually carried out the brutal murder.

The group of lawmakers, led by Rep. Kevin McDugle, said in a letter addressed to Stitt and the head of the Pardon and Parole Board, that they have no faith in the original police investigation of the murder.

They also point to new witnesses and evidence that contradict Sneed’s testimony and law enforcement’s explanation of the crime.

Glossip may be one of the first prisoners the state kills when executions resume. His execution was stopped at the last minute in 2015 when the state discovered it didn’t have the correct combination of lethal injection drugs.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Quinton Chandler joined StateImpact Oklahoma in January 2018, focusing on criminal justice reporting.
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