MCALESTER, Okla. - Just hours before an Oklahoma man was set to be executed, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals granted Richard Glossip a two-week stay of execution.
Glossip was convicted of murder for the 1997 death of motel owner Barry Van Treese, though Glossip wasn’t the actual killer.
The man who bludgeoned Van Treese to death, Justin Sneed, testified that Glossip hired him for the murder.
With just hours before Glossip’s scheduled execution, his lawyers asked Gov. Mary Fallin for a 60-day reprieve based on the new evidence of innocence they say they discovered in the past two weeks.
Gov. Fallin denied a stay of execution yet again late Tuesday afternoon.
She issued this statement after the court ruled for a temporary stay.
“As I have repeatedly said, court is the proper place for Richard Glossip and his legal team to argue the merits of his case. My office will respect whatever decision the court makes, as we have throughout this process.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the Van Treese family who has suffered greatly during this long ordeal.”
One day before the ruling she urged Glossip’s legal team to present the information to a court of law saying “Courts, unlike my office, have the legal authority to grant an indefinite stay of execution of a retrial.”
And, that is exactly what Glossip’s attorneys did Tuesday afternoon, filing what’s called a “successor petition” with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, asking for a hearing.
Glossip was scheduled to be executed on Wednesday at 3 p.m.
However, the Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that Glossip should be given a two-week stay of execution just three hours before the execution was set to begin.
"Due to Glossip's last minute filing, and in order for this Court to give fair consideration to the materials included with his subsequent application for post-conviction relief, we hearby GRANT an emergency stay of execution for two weeks," the order reads.
Glossip's execution has been rescheduled for Sept. 30.
"As I have repeatedly said, court is the proper place for Richard Glossip and his legal team to argue the merits of his case. My office will respect whatever decision the court makes, as we have throughout this process," Gov. Mary Fallin said in a statement. "My thoughts and prayers go out to the Van Treese family who has suffered greatly during this long ordeal."
While Glossip isn't out of the woods, many of his supporters are celebrating the stay.
"The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals did today, what elected officials have refused to do. We stand with the many Oklahomans and individuals around the world in expressing our gratitude to the court. For today, at least, the state of Oklahoma has avoided the execution of a man not guilty of any capital offense," said Ryan Kiesel, the executive director of the ACLU of Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt issues this statement on Wednesday.
“The family of Barry Van Treese has waited 18 agonizing years for justice to be realized for his brutal death. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals indicated it needs more time to review the filings. I’m confident that the Court of Criminal Appeals, after reviewing the filings, will conclude there is nothing worthy which would lead the court to overturn a verdict reached by two juries who both found Glossip guilty and sentenced him to death for Barry Van Treese’s murder.”