McALESTER, Okla. — Richard Glossip, 52, will be the next Oklahoma inmate to be executed under the state lethal injection protocol approved by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Glossip will be put to death for his role in the brutal murder of Barry Van Treese in 1997.
Late last year, Ali Meyer traveled to McAlester to talk with Glossip about his case, his execution and his claims of innocence.
“I’m prepared for whatever happens, but it’s not easy,” Glossip said behind a wall of thick glass and metal bars. “It’s like you’re in a tomb, just waiting to die so they can finish it off. You hardly get any contact, and the contact you have is with guards. It’s hard; harder than people think it is. People think we’ve got it easy down here. It’s not true.”
Richard Eugene Glossip has been on Oklahoma’s death row for 17 years.
“The dying part doesn’t bother me. Everybody dies, but I want people to know I didn’t kill this man (Barry Van Treese]. I didn’t participate or plan or anything to do with this crime. I want people to know that it’s not just for me that I’m speaking out. It’s for other people on death row around this country who are innocent and are going to be executed for something they didn’t do. It’s not right that it’s happening. We’re in a country where that should never happen.”
Richard Glossip was convicted of murder-for-hire in the 1997 death of Barry Van Treese.
“They offered me a life sentence at my second trial. I turned it down because I’m not going to stand there and admit to something that I didn’t do. Even though my attorneys said I was an idiot for turning it down because I could end up back on death row. I prefer death row than to tell somebody I committed a crime I didn’t do.” Glossip said. “I understand people want the death penalty, especially in the state of Oklahoma because of the crimes that are committed. I understand that even though I don’t believe in it. But, one thing you should be absolutely sure about is that you’re not about to kill an innocent man.”
Glossip’s co-worker, Justin Sneed, confessed to the murder of Barry Van Treese. Sneed testified against Glossip in exchange for his life. Sneed is now serving a life sentence.
“I wake up and look at these walls and think, ‘How the hell am I here?’ I think about it, try to figure out what went wrong. I just can’t figure it out. It’s a scary thing.”
The State of Oklahoma will use the controversial execution drug Midazolam to put Richard Glossip to death.
“It just really doesn’t make any sense to me what’s going on. They’re just in such a hurry to kill.”
Last year, the State of Oklahoma spent five months revamping the death chamber to carry out executions.
“You’re crammed in this box and every day you think about dying. You know they’re putting these cells up there to stick you in. I think that’s when it got even scarier the day they started construction because then you know they’re going through all this stuff to make sure they kill somebody. That’s a scary thing to think about.”