OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – After dozens of Oklahoma lawmakers called on the Oklahoma Attorney General to step in before the execution of a death row inmate, he is speaking out.

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.

Recently, Glossip’s attorney, Don Knight, said he’s found new evidence and new witnesses to prove Glossip’s innocent.

“Many of those witnesses were at the Best Budget Inn at or around the time of the murder. Some those witnesses were with Sneed in the County Jail immediately after he was brought in in 1997. Some of those witnesses were in prison with Sneed years later,” said Knight. “Those affidavits set forth a very different story than what Justin Sneed has told the police.”

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.

“Over 40% of the Oklahoma legislature have signed on to ask Attorney General O’Connor to join Richard Glossip’s request for an evidentiary hearing,” said Rep. McDugle.  “It is my hope and belief that AG O’Connor will move quickly and join this request to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.”

“Since new evidence continues to emerge, we know that no jury in Oklahoma has heard the whole story, or seen all the evidence in this case,” said Knight.  “We are gratified by the support of so many legislators in Oklahoma who see the value in looking at this new evidence, and urge the Attorney General’s office to join our application for an evidentiary hearing.  This will give us the opportunity to present this evidence in court and show that Richard Glossip is an innocent man.”

On Tuesday, Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor responded to the letter, saying he is leaving it up to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.

“While my office has the utmost respect for the opinions of the members of the Legislature who signed a letter in support of Glossip’s request for an evidentiary hearing, it is the courts who are authorized to make decisions regarding claims of factual or legal innocence raised on appeal,” said Attorney General O’Connor. “With that in mind, I look to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to carefully consider the claims before it and render a decision that complies with Oklahoma law.”

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.