OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s attorney general asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to grant death row inmate Richard Glossip a stay of execution, saying there were enough problems with Glossip’s conviction that he deserves a new trial.
In an unusual move for a prosecutor, Republican Attorney General Gentner Drummond filed his motion agreeing with defense attorneys that Glossip deserves a stay.
Drummond said that while he doesn’t believe Glossip is innocent, he didn’t receive a fair 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.
When combined with other problems with the state’s prosecution, including the destruction of evidence, the state believes “Glossip’s trial was unfair and unreliable,” Drummond wrote.
Glossip is scheduled to be executed May 18 for the 1997 murder-for-hire killing of Glossip’s former boss, Barry Van Treese. Another man, Justin Sneed, admitted robbing and killing Van Treese after Glossip promised to pay him $10,000. Sneed received a life sentence in exchange for his testimony and was the key witness against Glossip.
Drummond has supported Glossip’s efforts to get his conviction overturned and a new trial ordered.
Nevertheless, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals upheld Glossip’s conviction, and last week the state’s Pardon and Parole Board rejected his request for clemency. Those decisions paved the way for his execution to be carried out May 18.