OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The chance to hear new evidence in court for one death-row inmate’s case is one step closer to reality.
Glossip’s attorney, Don Knight, recently filed special paperwork called a “successive application” with the Court of Criminal Appeals. In a surprising move, they have agreed to a meeting.
“The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals rarely sets a briefing schedule like they did in this case,” said Knight.
“There’s too much mess and too many holes in this case to move forward with an execution,” said Rep. Kevin McDugle, (R ) Broken Arrow.
Rep. McDugle also believes Glossip is innocent. He’s been working with Knight for three years to help spare Glossip’s life.
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. Sneed confessed to beating Van Treese with a bat.
“How do you tell your kids they’re never going to see their dad again?” Donna Van Treese told KFOR back in 2017.
Sneed was given a life sentence in return for his testifying that Glossip hired Sneed to kill Van Treese. Glossip was sentenced to death.
Since then, Knight started investigating. He said he’s found new evidence and new witnesses to prove Glossip’s innocent.
“Many of those witnesses were at the Best Budget Inn at or around the time of the murder. Some those witnesses were with Sneed in the County Jail immediately after he was brought in in 1997. Some of those witnesses were in prison with Sneed years later,” said Knight. “Those affidavits set forth a very different story than what Justin Sneed has told the police.”
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 something more disturbing.
“We have a box of evidence that’s completely missing, because the DA, or the police, or somebody destroyed the evidence,” said McDugle.
Now, Knight hopes the Court of Criminal Appeals will grant what’s called a “successive application.” He said if the courts grant this, they’ll be able to introduce all of the new evidence in front of a judge.
“Once they get all of that information together, they will then look at that paperwork and decide if we get what we are looking for, which is an evidentiary hearing,” said Knight. “Where we call these witnesses to the stand. They can testify. The state gets to go ahead and cross-examine those witnesses.”
Knight said he hopes they will eventually be able to take the case back to Oklahoma County District Court.
“We’ll basically have a chance to present our evidence and to cross-examine witnesses that are brought by the state as well. And that’s how we get to the bottom of who’s telling the truth and who isn’t,” Knight said.
News 4 reached out to Van Treese’s widow, Donna, but we did not hear back. However, when we last spoke to her in 2017, she said she was confident the state had the right man.
“Without a doubt in my mind, they have who was responsible for masterminding it, who was responsible for covering it up afterwards, who was responsible for the actual crime,” she said.
In order to get the briefing scheduled, they need a reply from Attorney General John O’Connor by August 11.
KFOR reached out to AG O’Connor. His office said they are aware of the court order but can’t comment on pending litigation.