OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma inmate was just minutes away from being put to death before a stay of execution was issued following an alleged mix-up with the lethal injection drugs.
On Wednesday, Richard Glossip was scheduled to be put to death for the murder of Barry Van Treese in 1997.
Instead of getting potassium chloride, experts say the state was given potassium acetate.
Gov. Mary Fallin issued a 37 day stay of execution for Glossip, but representatives said other executions would go on as planned.
On Thursday, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed the petition for an indefinite stay of all scheduled executions.
“On September 30, 2015, Governor Mary Fallin issued an Executive Order 2015-42 rescheduling Glossip’s execution due to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) receiving potassium acetate rather than potassium chloride, the third drug to be utilized in the execution protocol. Due to the events of September 30, 2015, and the imminence of the above-referenced executions, the Office of the Attorney General needs time to evaluate the events that transpired on September 30, 2015, ODOC’s acquisition of a drug contrary to protocol, and ODOC’s internal procedures relative to the protocol. The State has a strong interest in ensuring that the execution protocol is strictly followed. Therefore, the Office of the Attorney General requests that all three executions be stayed indefinitely,” a document submitted by attorney general to the Court of Criminal Appeals read.
The attorney general says his office has already started looking into the events surrounding Wednesday’s scheduled execution.
“The state owes it to the people of Oklahoma to ensure that, on their behalf, it can properly and lawfully administer the sentence of death imposed by juries for the most heinous crimes. Not until shortly before the scheduled execution did the Department of Corrections notify my office that it did not obtain the necessary drugs to carry out the execution in accordance with the protocol. Until my office knows more about these circumstances and gains confidence that DOC can carry out executions in accordance with the execution protocol, I am asking the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to issue an indefinite stay of all scheduled executions. I am mindful of the families who have suffered an agonizing time through this process, and my heart breaks for them. At least three families have waited a combined 48 years for closure and finality after losing a loved one. Yet, they deserve to know, and all Oklahomans need to know with certainty, that the system is working as intended,” Pruitt said in a statement.
On Friday, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals indefinitely stayed the executions for Benjamin Cole, John Grant and Richard Glossip.
Glossip’s execution was moved to Nov. 6.
Benjamin Cole was scheduled to be put to death on Oct. 7, and John Grant was set to be executed on Oct. 28.