OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals announced that it was denying an application for an Oklahoma death row inmate.

Last week, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt announced another  stay of execution for death row inmate Richard Glossip.

Over the years, Glossip has had his execution date stayed or reprieved six times.

Glossip has been on death-row for 25 years for the murder of Barry Van Treese. 

The case goes back to 1997, when Glossip and Justin Sneed were convicted of killing Glossip’s boss and owner of the Best Budget Inn, Barry Van Treese.

Barry Van Treese and his family
Barry Van Treese and his family

Sneed confessed to beating Van Treese with a bat. However, Sneed testified that Glossip hired him to kill Van Treese.

In exchange for his testimony, Sneed was given a life sentence. Glossip was sentenced to death.

Richard Glossip, image KFOR
Richard Glossip, image KFOR

Earlier this year, Texas-based law firm, Reed Smith, agreed to independently investigate the case for free.

After 3,000 hours of work and a nearly 350-page report, they determined “no reasonable jury would have convicted Richard Glossip.”

Investigators pointed to flawed interrogations, lack of crime scene logs, and missing evidence.

In August, the law firm released newly discovered evidence in the case, citing an urgent need for a new evidentiary hearing.

Officials say they have a handwritten statement from Sneed from 2007, implying that his testimony implicating Glossip “was a mistake.”

Also, they uncovered a letter to Sneed from an Oklahoma public defender who suggested that if he recanted his story, he would face the death penalty.

Gov Stitt issued an executive order for another stay of execution for Glossip, saying he wanted to give the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals time to complete their review of a petition for a new hearing.

On behalf of the 62 Oklahoma legislators who signed a request for an evidentiary hearing based on new evidence, I am thankful for Governor Stitt’s wise decision to grant Richard Glossip a 60-day reprieve, to give the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals time to complete its work.  Every new day brings more evidence of Mr. Glossip’s innocence, and it is our hope that the OCCA rejects the Attorney General’s bogus arguments, which I have refuted here, and comes to the only just conclusion possible— that a new trial is warranted.  Oklahomans–including both those who support and oppose the death penalty–will not tolerate Mr. Glossip being executed while there is so much proof that the police and District Attorney lost and destroyed important evidence, wrongfully altered critical testimony, and continue to purposely hide evidence to this day.  This is a great example of how Governor Stitt is tough but fair-minded.  In the face of this overwhelming evidence now, more than ever, I urge the OCCA to either reverse his conviction entirely or quickly grant the full evidentiary hearing that his attorneys have requested.  This is the only way to begin to right this terrible wrong.”

REP. KEVIN MCDUGLE (R-BROKEN ARROW)

On Thursday, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals announced that it would deny the first of two applications for an evidentiary hearing for Glossip.

“This is a very difficult decision to understand.  The evidence of Rich’s innocence, and the State’s misconduct, is overwhelming and deserving of, at the very minimum, a fair hearing where we can present our evidence.  This is all we have ever asked for and is something that, obviously, the State is desperate to see never happen. We still have another petition pending with the Court setting forth Sneed’s desire to recant his testimony against Rich and, most shockingly, documenting the prosecutor’s serious misconduct in coaching Sneed to change his testimony in the middle of trial.  Our fight to free this innocent man will continue, and we remain optimistic that truth and justice will prevail, both for Rich and the citizens of Oklahoma.”

Don Knight, Glossip’s attorney

 “Over twenty five years ago, on January 7, 1997, 54-year-old Barry Van Treese was murdered with a baseball bat in Oklahoma City. In 2004, an Oklahoma County jury convicted Richard Glossip of First-Degree Murder for hiring Justin Sneed to kill Mr. Van Treese. The Glossip conviction has been affirmed through numerous appeals and challenges. Today, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals denied Glossip’s recent challenge, concluding that Glossip failed to show that he is innocent of the murder. The Court takes claims of factual innocence ‘seriously’ and thoroughly reviewed Glossip’s application. The Court recognized, as we have said all along, ‘Far from making a claim of factual innocence, Glossip actually raises a theory of a defense’ considered by the Court in prior appeals or applications. The Court further found ‘no evidence that Sneed has ever sought to recant his testimony in any meaningful way’ and that his testimony was ‘corroborated by compelling evidence.’

The litigation in this case is not over, but we are relieved for the family of Mr. Van Treese and for the people of Oklahoma that, after waiting so long for justice to be served, one more stage of litigation is behind them.”

Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor

His execution was set for Dec. 8, 2022 but has now been stayed until Feb. 16, 2023.