OKLAHOMA CITY – An Academy Award winning actress is calling for Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to stop the execution of a man she believes is “clearly innocent.”
Actress Susan Sarandon is now joining the fight to save the life of Oklahoma inmate Richard Glossip.
Glossip was convicted in connection with the murder of Barry Van Treese.
Van Treese was found dead at an Oklahoma City motel back in 1997.
Prosecutors said Glossip hired maintenance worker, Justin Sneed, to take a baseball bat and bludgeon their boss, Barry Van Treese, to death because Glossip thought he would be fired. At trial, Sneed testified that he killed Van Treese at Glossip’s behest and received a life sentence. Glossip was sentenced to death.
Glossip appealed the sentence, but he has since exhausted all of his options.
He is scheduled to die on Sept. 16.
Sarandon called Governor Fallin a “horrible person” for refusing to intervene in Glossip’s execution, according to an exclusive interview with Sky News.
“The governor of Oklahoma is just a horrible person, and a woman, so it’s even more discouraging,” Sarandon said.
The actress is asking people to write to Governor Fallin and ask her to grant a stay of execution.
“I’m hoping that some kind of exposure will give him the opportunity to maybe get his sentence at least commuted, because he’s clearly innocent, and on top of that the guy who actually killed the person is in a minimum security prison for the rest of his life,” she told Sky News.
Governor Fallin’s communications director, Alex Weinz, told The Huffington Post that the governor will not intervene.
“Is the governor going to undo decades of legal actions — that dozens of jurors and judges have decided — because Susan Sarandon is calling on the governor?” Weinz told The Huffington Post on Thursday. “The answers is first, [Fallin] doesn’t have the authority, and second, she wouldn’t even if she could.”
The Huffington Post reports that Sarandon was alerted to Glossip’s case through Sister Helen Prejean, who wrote Dead Man Walking.
Sarandon portrayed Prejean in the book’s film adaptation, which won her an Academy Award in 1996.
Sister Prejean has visited Glossip in prison and has become his spiritual adviser.
In January, Sister Prejean helped deliver petitions to Governor Mary Fallin’s office, asking for a stay of execution for Richard Glossip.
“Richard Glossip’s case cries out for deeper, moral consideration, because it raises the spectre of an actually innocent man being executed for a crime he did not commit—based on the testimony of only one man, the man who actually killed the victim,” Sister Prejean said in a statement.
The Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office released a statement to Sky News about the execution saying:
“A jury has twice convicted and sentenced Richard Glossip in the murder of Barry Van Treese.
Glossip has challenged his conviction all the way to the US Supreme Court, exhausting all appeals, and has been unsuccessful at each challenge.
The attorney general’s office will continue its work to protect the state’s ability to ensure the sentence handed down by a jury can be carried out so that after nearly 20 years, justice can be served for the family of Barry Van Treese.”
Prejean and Sarandon are both scheduled to appear Friday on CNN to discuss Glossip’s case, according to The Huffington Post.
An innocent life is on the line. Another example of the broken judicial system. You're the only hope left. Pls sign. http://t.co/GfzFfO1ly5
— Susan Sarandon (@SusanSarandon) August 7, 2015
— Sky News PR Team (@SkyNewsPR) August 6, 2015
— HuffPost Politics (@HuffPostPol) August 6, 2015