OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – In two weeks, a high-profile death row inmate is set to be executed in Oklahoma.
Richard 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.
Recently, Glossip’s petition for clemency was denied after the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted 2-2 on the case.
On Tuesday, Glossip’s attorney asked the Oklahoma County District Court to throw out that hearing and stop his execution.
The court filing says the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board failed to seat an impartial replacement member to ensure that Glossip had a trial before a five-member board, which he says is required by the Oklahoma Constitution.
Officials say Richard Smothermon recused himself from the vote since he is married to the lead prosecutor in Glossip’s case.
“Mr. Smothermon properly recused himself due to this clear conflict of interest, but the split 2-2 vote at Mr. Glossip’s clemency hearing resulted in a denial that precludes Governor Kevin Stitt from granting clemency,” a release states.
“The State of Oklahoma has already agreed that Richard Glossip was denied a fair trial and, to add further insult to his constitutional rights, he has now been denied a fair clemency hearing,” said his attorney, Don Knight. “The Board’s split decision is precisely the outcome this lawsuit sought to avoid, and it underscores the grave injustice of allowing Rich’s execution to proceed without a proper clemency hearing before a fully constituted Board.”
Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond says he is also calling on the Supreme Court to step in and stop the pending execution.
On Monday, he asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay of execution, saying there were enough problems with Glossip’s conviction that he deserves a new trial.
Specifically, Drummond said the key witness against Glossip lied on the stand about his psychiatric condition and his reason for taking the mood-stabilizing drug lithium.
As the Oklahoma Attorney General goes to the Supreme Court, a group of Oklahoma faith leaders from across the state are asking Gov. Kevin Stitt and legislators to save Glossip’s life.
“Elected officials who value the sanctity of life should use their power to stop Mr. Glossip’s execution,” said Baptist Pastor John-Mark Hart. “There are serious doubts in this case, and killing an innocent man would be a moral travesty.”