OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt announced a 60-day stay of execution for death row inmate Richard Glossip.

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.

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.

On Wednesday, 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.

On Tuesday, Gov. Stitt announced a 60-day stay of execution for Glossip, citing the need to allow the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to complete their review of a petition for a new hearing.

“We are extremely grateful for Governor Stitt’s thoughtful and compassionate decision to grant a 60-day reprieve for Rich’s execution date, and to do so sufficiently in advance of the August 23 clemency hearing to spare everyone the trauma that such a hearing entails. This will also spare Mr. Glossip from beginning the cruel execution protocol for a fourth time. We note that new evidence of innocence continues to be uncovered on an almost daily basis, including compelling evidence of admitted killer Justin Sneed’s desire to recant his testimony accusing Mr. Glossip of orchestrating the murder of Barry Van Treese. The defense team will continue to focus our efforts on bringing this evidence to the OCCA to obtain the new hearing Rich clearly deserves.”

Don Knight, Glossip’s attorney

On behalf of the 62 Oklahoma legislators who signed a request for an evidentiary hearing into new evidence in this case, I am thankful for Governor Stitt’s wise decision to grant Richard Glossip a 60-day reprieve so the OCCA has time to complete its work. With each new day it seems that Reed Smith, which continues its pro bono work on behalf of the people of the State of Oklahoma, uncovers and delivers to my committee new evidence of Mr. Glossip’s innocence that builds on the incredible work the firm has already done. And now we see that Justin Sneed, the real murderer, actually wanted to recant his testimony against Mr. Glossip all along but was stopped from doing so by his lawyer. It is now undeniable that Mr.  Glossip is an innocent man. Oklahomans–including both those who support and oppose the death penalty–will not tolerate him being executed without being given the chance to call witnesses in court, and to confront the lies of Justin Sneed that have robbed Mr. Glossip of the last 25 years. Now more than ever, I urge the OCCA to quickly grant the 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)

Governor Stitt’s office told KFOR that they would not be releasing any comment besides the executive order.

This is the fourth time Glossip has had an execution date stayed or reprieved.

His execution was set for September 22, 2022. Following the executive order, it has been moved to Dec. 8, 2022.