In one week, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals denied two petitions filed by Richard Glossip for an evidentiary hearing to consider new evidence of innocence in his case.
Glossip was scheduled to be killed on September 22. But Gov. Kevin Stitt stayed his execution until February 16, 2023, to allow time for the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to review his petitions for a new hearing. Both of those petitions were denied, the first on November 11 and the second on November 17.
The new evidence was uncovered in an investigation conducted by the law firm Reed Smith, which released a report in June, concluding that “Glossip’s“ 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.”
That report was followed by four supplemental accounts, which Reed Smith states “uncovered several new findings that bolster this assertion.”
Glossip, now 59, was sentenced to death in 1997, convicted of engineering the murder of Barry Van Treese, the owner of a motel where Glossip worked. The actual killer was Justin Sneed, a motel maintenance worker who admitted to beating Van Treese to death with a baseball bat. But Sneed claimed Glossip was the mastermind of the murder and had offered him $10,000 to kill Van Treese. Sneed was sentenced to life without parole. Glossip has always maintained his innocence.
Among the issues Glossip raised in his petitions was the discovery that the state withheld evidence that Sneed planned to recant his testimony implicating Glossip as the mastermind; that the prosecutor orchestrated Sneed’s testimony; that the state presented false testimony; and the state suppressed exculpatory and impeachment evidence.
In its second denial, the OKCCA wrote, “None of his claims convince this Court that these alleged errors have resulted in a miscarriage of justice or constitute a substantial violation of a constitutional or statutory right.”