OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma death row inmate will not receive a new trial or a stay of execution, following a decision by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.
In a 5-0 vote on Thursday, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals denied the Oklahoma Attorney General’s request to stay Richard Glossip’s execution.
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.
Although Sneed confessed to beating and killing Van Treese with a bat, 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.
Over the years, Glossip has had his execution date delayed at least seven times.
His current execution date is set for May 18, 2023.
However, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond announced that he wanted Glossip’s execution pushed back until after August 2024, in order for an independent counsel to complete its comprehensive review of Glossip’s case, conviction and sentence.
“An independent investigation ordered by the Attorney General is still ongoing and the State agrees it is appropriate to permit that investigation to conclude before Mr. Glossip’s execution, so that the State can make a fully informed decision about its position,” reads the motion.
Glossip’s attorneys also filed for post-conviction relief, saying he did not receive a fair trial and the State did not adequately prove his involvement in Van Treese’s murder.
On Thursday, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals denied that request.
“The Attorney General of Oklahoma has filed a response requesting that this Court vacate Glossip’s twenty-five-year-old murder conviction and sentence of death and send the case back to the district court for a new trial. Despite the request, Attorney General Gentner F. Drummond is ‘not suggesting that Glossip is innocent of any charge made against him’ and ‘continues to believe that Glossip has culpability in the murder of Barry Van Treese.’ The Attorney General’s ‘concession’ does not directly provide statutory or legal grounds for relief in this case. This Court’s review, moreover, is limited by the legislatively enacted Post-Conviction Procedure Act,” the decision read.
The court acknowledged that AG Drummond had asked for a stay of execution, but that request was also denied.
The court found that the independent review of the case is complete, based on the AG’s response to Glossip’s application for post-conviction relief.
“For the reasons below, Glossip is neither entitled to post-conviction relief, nor a stay of execution,” the court ruled.
The court ruled that Glossip’s team did not provide anything “extraordinarily new” in the affidavit, and said the information was “insufficient to cause this Court to believe that Glossip is factually innocent.”
“This Court has thoroughly examined Glossip’s case from the initial direct appeal to this date. We have examined the trial transcripts, briefs, and every allegation Glossip has made since his conviction. Glossip has exhausted every avenue and we have found no legal or factual ground which would require relief in this case. Glossip’s application for post conviction relief is denied. We find, therefore, that neither an evidentiary hearing nor discovery is warranted in this case. Further, because Glossip has not made the requisite showing of likely success and irreparable harm, he is not entitled to a stay of execution,” the document reads.
Glossip’s attorney released this statement following the court ruling:
“Oklahoma’s elected Attorney General Gentner Drummond found, after conducting his own independent review, that the State’s star witness against Mr. Glossip, Justin Sneed, was not a truthful witness. Without Sneed’s “material misstatements” the outcome of Mr. Glossip’s trial would have been different. Since the State now agrees that the only witness to allege that Mr. Glossip was involved in this crime cannot be believed, it is unconscionable for the court to attempt to force the State to move forward with his execution. We cannot permit this longstanding injustice to go unchallenged and will be filing for review of this manifestly unjust ruling in the United States Supreme Court. We ask all Oklahomans who believe in justice to stand with Mr. Glossip, and the State of Oklahoma, to stop this wrongful judicial execution, and grant Mr. Glossip the new trial he so rightly deserves.”Don Knight, attorney for Richard Glossip
Attorney General Gentner Drummond fired back after the ruling with the following statement:
“While I respect the Court of Criminal Appeals’ opinion, I am not willing to allow an execution to proceed despite so many doubts. Ensuring the integrity of the death penalty demands complete certainty. I will thoroughly review the ruling and consider what steps should be taken to ensure justice.”Gentner Drummond, Attorney General of Oklahoma
His execution is still set for May 18, 2023.