OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A law firm has released new evidence that they say brings into question the guilt of an Oklahoma death row inmate.
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.
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.
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.
“In 2014, there were statements circulating that Sneed’s daughter said Sneed wanted to recant, but she never came forward. With this letter written by Sneed, we have compelling new evidence that strongly supports what we heard. That Sneed wanted to recant his statement implicating Richard Glossip and his attorney shut him down,” said Rep Kevin McDugle (R-Broken Arrow). “Given that the state’s case rests entirely upon Sneed’s testimony implicating Glossip, it is imperative that the court remand the case for a hearing before Richard is scheduled to be executed on September 22.”
On Monday, dozens of Oklahoma lawmakers came together to call on Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor to request for an evidentiary hearing in the case.
If an evidentiary hearing is granted, that alleged new and emerging evidence will be heard in a court of law.
In a letter to the attorney general’s office, 61 Oklahoma lawmakers have said the findings of the Reed Smith report demonstrate a need for the hearing before Glossip’s scheduled execution.
Last week, KFOR reached out to Van Treese’s widow but 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.
Glossip is set to be put to death on September 22, 2022.