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Dozens Of Oklahoma Lawmakers Press For New Investigation Into Death Row Prisoner's Conviction

Richard E. Glossip, photo from February 2021
Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Thirty-four Oklahoma lawmakers are asking Governor Kevin Stitt and the Pardon and Parole Board to begin an independent investigation into a death row prisoner’s first-degree murder conviction.

The legislators believe evidence points to Richard Glossip’s innocence and argue that killing him without being absolutely certain of his guilt will "erode public trust" in Oklahoma’s justice system.

Glossip was convicted of hiring another man to murder hotel owner Barry Van Treese in 1997.

The primary evidence against Glossip is the word of Justin Sneed — the man who actually carried out the brutal murder.

The group of lawmakers, led by Rep. Kevin McDugle, said in a letter addressed to Stitt and the head of the Pardon and Parole Board, that they have no faith in the original police investigation of the murder.

They also point to new witnesses and evidence that contradict Sneed’s testimony and law enforcement’s explanation of the crime.

Glossip may be one of the first prisoners the state kills when executions resume. His execution was stopped at the last minute in 2015 when the state discovered it didn’t have the correct combination of lethal injection drugs.

Quinton Chandler worked at StateImpact Oklahoma from January 2018 to August 2021, focusing on criminal justice reporting.
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