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Oklahoma death row inmate files last minute appeal after governor refuses to stay execution

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Richard Glossip is scheduled to die by lethal injection Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. at the McAlester prison.

Glossip was convicted in the 1997 murder of motel manager Barry Van Treese.

Glossip’s attorneys filed a petition at the Court of Criminal Appeals late Tuesday afternoon.

That court could halt the execution and grant a new hearing, but we won’t know until the day he is scheduled to die.

“We need to have a hearing, we need to go to the Court of Appeals and we need the Court of Appeals to say, 'we’ll grant you a hearing.' I’ll bring my witnesses in, I’ll gladly bring my witnesses in,” attorney Don Knight said.

Knight says his team has uncovered new information, including testimony from a cell mate of Justin Sneed, who claims he heard Sneed bragging about how he set up Glossip.

The case against Glossip is hinged on Justin Sneed’s testimony.

“We know he wanted to steal the money that was in Barry Van Treese’s car, and it just went wrong, and then everything thereafter shows what a methamphetamine addict does when he tries to cover up a crime, very sloppy,” Knight said.

Also on Tuesday afternoon, NewsChannel 4 obtained letters written by Richard Glossip in 1998 to a couple he met in the Oklahoma County jail.

In the letters, Glossip always maintains his innocence.

He also talks about a woman most of those following the case have never heard of, a co-worker he was allegedly in love with. He says she told him that she was in the room at the time of the murder, and asked him to cover for her.

Writing to his attorney, Glossip said, “You know I did all this because I loved D’Anna but what happened I now know is wrong. She told me she loved me, then while I was in jail I find out she told Justin [Sneed] the same.”

Tuesday, Glossip supporters gathered outside Gov. Mary Fallin’s office, calling on her to grant a 60-day stay.

By late afternoon, Gov. Fallin officially refused to grant a stay.

  “For months, and as part of a larger publicity campaign opposing the death penalty, Richard Glossip’s attorneys have been publicly claiming to have new evidence that exonerates their client. During that time, my office and I have urged them to bring that so-called evidence to the proper venue: a court of law. Not only have Glossip’s lawyers not done so, but they have actively rejected requests from public officials to examine whatever materials they have. His attorneys even refused to share the contact information of so-called ‘new witnesses’ with Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater and with my office.

“Yesterday, forty-eight hours before Glossip’s scheduled execution, his attorneys presented my office with a binder of what they have labeled ‘new evidence.’ After reviewing it with my legal team, we have determined the vast majority of the limited content they have presented is not new; furthermore, we find none of the material to be credible evidence of Richard Glossip’s innocence. After carefully reviewing the facts of this case multiple times, I see no reason to cast doubt on the guilty verdict reached by the jury or to delay Glossip’s sentence of death. For that reason I am rejecting his request for a stay of execution.

“Nevertheless, I join our district attorney in urging Glossip’s legal team to present whatever information they have to a court of law. Courts, unlike my office, have the legal authority to grant an indefinite stay of execution or a retrial.  Courts are the proper venue to present new information or evidence, and the attorneys representing Glossip have a moral and ethical duty to file legal documents and make their case in front of a judge.

“In the event that a court refuses to issue a stay, Richard Glossip will be executed tomorrow. I hope the execution brings a sense of closure and peace to the Van Treese family, who has suffered greatly because of Glossip’s crimes.” – Governor Mary Fallin

“We respect and we feel for the Van Treese family, we really do, we don’t want to multiply anybody’s pain by seeing another innocent person be killed in this case,” Knight said.

We will keep you updated on what the appeals court decides.

NewsChannel 4 will have live coverage of the execution Wednesday from McAlester.