Supreme Court halts execution of Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Glossip


The Oklahoma State Penitentiary is pictured in 2021. Death row inmate Richard Glossip had been scheduled for execution May 18 but was given a stay Friday.

The Supreme Court halted the execution of Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Glossip on Friday after the state's attorney general told the high court he didn't receive a fair trial.

Glossip was set to be executed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester on May 18 for the 1997 murder-for-hire plot of his boss, Barry Alan Van Treese. The execution will be put on hold while the Supreme Court reviews the case.

New Attorney General Gentner Drummond, a Republican, told justices that Glossip was convicted on false testimony, and asked for the stay. He said, "the public interest is clearly served by not executing a man after the state has concluded that the conviction cannot be sustained.

Richard Glossip spoke to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board April 26.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on April 20 refused to grant him a stay and threw out his latest challenge to his conviction.

Glossip, 60, has always maintained his innocence.

The attorney general had asked the Court of Criminal Appeals to set aside the conviction and send the case back to the Oklahoma County Courthouse. Drummond has said he doesn't believe Glossip is innocent.

Drummond complained the key witness, confessed killer Justin Sneed, gave "false testimony" to the jury at a 2004 retrial regarding his psychiatric treatment.

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Glossip's case gets high-profile support

Glossip has become the state's most high-profile death row inmate because of the wide support for his innocence claim across the years. Among his supporters are conservative Republican legislators and celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Susan Sarandon, the actress who played death penalty opponent Sister Helen Prejean in the film "Dead Man Walking." Prejean herself has served as a spiritual adviser for Glossip.

Glossip has been previously scheduled for execution several times, including in 2015 when his execution was called off because a doctor realized the wrong heart-stopping drug had been delivered.

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Glossip claimed innocence in the murder of Barry Van Treese

Glossip claims he was framed for the murder of Van Treese, an Oklahoma City motel owner. The Court of Criminal Appeals rejected two previous challenges to his conviction in November.

Van Treese, Glossip's boss, was found beaten to death in Room 102 of his motel, the Best Budget Inn, on Jan. 7, 1997. Van Treese was 54 and lived in Lawton.

Sneed, a motel maintenance man, confessed to killing Van Treese with a baseball bat. He said Glossip pressured him into doing it and offered him $10,000 as payment. He testified against Glossip at two trials.

Glossip's attorneys claim Sneed actually killed the motel owner during a botched robbery for drug money. They claim he incriminated Glossip to avoid getting the death penalty himself.

They claim Sneed, a meth addict, made admissions in jail and later in prison about framing Glossip and also has talked of recanting his testimony.

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