OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond says an independent counsel will perform a comprehensive review of Richard Glossip’s murder conviction and death sentence.

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

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 seven times.

Now, Drummond says former prosecutor Rex Duncan will review ‘all aspects of the investigation, trial, sentencing and appeals process’. 

“As my office will represent the State at the clemency hearing, it is my responsibility to ensure that we are appropriately responding to all evidence that has been presented through Mr. Glossip’s conviction and incarceration,” Drummond said. “Circumstances surrounding this case necessitate a thorough review. While I am confident in our judicial system, that does not allow me to ignore evidence. This review helps ensure that justice is served, both to the Van Treese family and the accused.”

Drummond spoke personally with various members of the Van Treese family before making this decision.

“I always will remain focused on the families of victims, who have suffered unimaginable loss and await justice for their loved ones,” he said.

“We are thankful to Attorney General Drummond for his wise decision to appoint an independent counsel to conduct a comprehensive review of Richard Glossip’s case. From the beginning of our work on this case, all we have asked for is a fair review of all the evidence. The new evidence we have uncovered since 2015 shows conclusively, as the first independent investigation by Reed Smith found, that no reasonable juror who viewed all the evidence would find Mr. Glossip guilty of murder for hire. We are confident that this new investigation will reach the same conclusion. Richard Glossip is innocent of this crime. We look forward to fully cooperating with Rex Duncan so that he can complete his work as expeditiously as possible, and the State can begin to right this terrible wrong.”

Don Knight, Attorney for Richard Glossip

Independent Counsel Rex Duncan is a Colonel (retired) in the Oklahoma Army National Guard and served as District Attorney of Osage and Pawnee Counties from 2011 to 2019. Prior to that time, he represented House District 35 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.