Richard Glossip: US Supreme Court halts man’s fourth execution attempt

Richard Glossip
Glossip has refused plea deals because he says he is innocent (Image: Oklahoma Department of Corrections)

A convicted man in Oklahoma has escaped a fourth execution attempt after a rare intervention from the US Supreme Court.

The court halted Richard Glossip’s 18 May execution after the state’s top lawman said he did not receive a fair trial.

In 2015, Glossip was only a few steps away from the execution chamber when guards halted the execution to review the lethal injection drugs.

The order puts the sentence on hold for now while the court considers the case.

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond has re-investigated the conviction and asked for a new trial on the grounds that prosecutors concealed information about his accuser that could have helped him fight the charge.

Glossip’s boss Barry Van Treese, the owner of the Oklahoma City motel, was beaten to death in 1997.

His colleague Justin Sneed was convicted of the killing but said Glossip had ordered him to carry out the murder.

Glossip, 60, and his family have maintained his innocence during his 26 years in prison, saying that Sneed acted alone.

He was first convicted in 1998 but that was overturned in 2001, only for Glossip to be convicted again three years later.

During his time behind bars, he has eaten three last meals, and seen his execution scheduled for nine different dates.

Attorney General Drummond, a Republican, found in a report released last year that prosecutors at his 2004 re-trial did not disclose that Glossip’s accuser had been treated for a serious psychiatric condition.

“Absent this court’s intervention, an execution will move forward under circumstances where the Attorney General has already confessed error ‚ÄĒ a result that would be unthinkable,” Mr Drummond wrote in his request to the court.

The stay will remain in place until the court decides whether to order a new trial and possibly toss out his conviction.

The case has received international attention, with Pope Francis, Kim Kardashian and Richard Branson voicing support for Glossip.

“There’s so many exonerations in this country – so many people were railroaded, so many people’s lives were taken from them,” Glossip¬†told CNN¬†on Thursday. “Why is it so hard for people to think that somebody’s actually innocent?”

Glossip, who married an anti-death penalty activist last year, says he has remained focused on the things he wants to do if he gets out of prison.

“I’ve never been on a plane ‚Ķ So they want to get me on a plane and take me somewhere,” he said. “And I’ve never seen the ocean, so we want to go do that.”


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