Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt issues a stay of execution for Glossip

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Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has issued a 60-day stay of execution for Richard Glossip. The stay is effective September 22, the day Glossip was scheduled to be executed. It is in effect until December 8, 2022.

“This stay is granted to allow time for the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to address a pending legal proceeding,” the order states. 

Stitt is referring to a recent request by 61 Oklahoma lawmakers — more than a third of the state assembly — including Republican death penalty supporters, to the CCA for an evidentiary hearing for Glossip. 

Glossip, who never killed anyone, was sentenced to death for a murder committed by Justin Sneed, who implicated him as the mastermind of the murder. Sneed is serving a life without parole sentence. 

Stitt’s order was the latest in a series of developments in Glossip’s case since June.

Glossip, who is 59, has been on death row since 1997, convicted of engineering the murder of Barry Van Treese, the owner of a motel where Glossip worked. Sneed, serving a life without parole sentence for beating Van Treese to death, said Glossip planned the murder. Glossip has always maintained his innocence, and in February, an ad hoc committee of state legislators asked the law firm, Reed Smith, to conduct an investigation.

The firm issued its report in June, concluding that his “2004 trial cannot be relied on to support a murder-for-hire-conviction. Nor can it provide a basis for the government to take the life of Richard E. Glossip.” 

The report spurred Republican state representative Kevin McDugle, a death penalty supporter, to lead the effort in the legislature to ask Attorney General John O’Connor to join their request to the CCA for an evidentiary hearing. But O’Connor declined to support the effort, making it likely that the CCA would deny the lawmakers’ request.

Then, on August 9, Reed Smith released a supplemental report that provides “additional information that further supports our findings, including that no reasonable jury hearing the complete record would have convicted Richard Glossip of first-degree murder.”

The new information includes post-trial statements made by the actual killer, Justin Sneed. “These statements are deeply concerning considering the sole evidence of murder for hire was Sneed,” the report states.

Glossip then filed a clemency plea on August 12. Four days later, Stitt issued his stay. 

This is the fourth time Glossip’s execution has been stayed. 

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