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

Richard Eugene Glossip
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 joined the team at StateImpact Oklahoma in 2017, focusing on criminal justice reporting. He is an OSU grad with degrees in Economics and Marketing who got his start in radio at KOSU. After graduation, Quinton served as Morning Edition Host/General Assignment Reporter at KBBI Radio in Homer, Alaska and Education Reporter at KTOO Public Media in Juneau, Alaska. Quinton loves writing, reading and has an intense relationship with his Netflix account.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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