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Oklahoma Death Row Inmate’s Execution Halted by SCOTUS at AG’s Request.

Supreme Court Halts Execution of Death Row Inmate Richard Glossip

In a rare move on Friday, the United States Supreme Court halted the scheduled execution of death row inmate Richard Glossip as they consider taking two pending petitions for appeal, which challenge his conviction.

Glossip was scheduled to be executed on May 18 for his role in the murder of Oklahoma motel owner Barry Van Treese in 1997.

New Evidence Casts Doubt on Conviction

On April 6, Oklahoma attorney general Gentner Drummond (R) said in a statement that new evidence relating to Glossip’s case from an independent investigation “cast doubt on the conviction” and filed a motion for the Oklahoma appeals court to return the case to federal district court, Reuters reports.

“After thorough and serious deliberation, I have concluded that I cannot stand behind the murder conviction and death sentence of Richard Glossip,” Drummond said in the statement. “This is not to say I believe he is innocent. However, it is critical that Oklahomans have absolute faith that the death penalty is administered fairly and with certainty.”

On April 20, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed Drummond’s request and upheld Glossip’s conviction. In a last ditch effort, the appeal went before the High Court.

Justice for Glossip

The justices agreed to halt the execution as they look to consider the two appeals brought forth by Glossip’s legal counsel.

Don Knight, Glossip’s attorney, praised the Supreme Court’s decision and spoke on the importance of Glossip receiving a fair trial, which Knight claims his client never got.

“We are very grateful to the US Supreme Court for doing the right thing in stopping Richard Glossip’s unlawful execution,” Knight said. “There is nothing more harrowing than the thought of executing a man who the state now admits has never received a fair trial. Thankfully, for the time being, Mr. Glossip is out of peril.”

The Case Against Glossip

In 1998, Glossip was found guilty of first-degree murder in the 1997 killing of Barry Van Treese, the owner of a Best Budget Inn in Oklahoma City. Van Treese was beaten to death by Justin Sneed, a maintenance worker at the motel, who confessed that Richard Glossip, a manager at the time, hired him to carry out the killing.

In court filings, the Oklahoma attorney general said that Glossip’s conviction should be vacated due to evidence revealing that Sneed misled jurors about his psychiatric conditions when he carried out the murder, according to Reuters.

The initial 1998 conviction was appealed but was thrown out and Glossip was found guilty again in 2004.

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