An Innocent Man on Death Row: Tell Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt that the State of Oklahoma Must Not Execute Richard Glossip
The Honorable Governor J. Kevin Stitt
Two independent investigations found that Richard Glossip's conviction should be overturned. 62 state legislators–including 45 pro-death penalty Republicans–and Oklahoma’s Republican Attorney General believe Glossip shouldn’t be executed.
The only evidence is a made up story by the admitted killer, a known thief and meth addict who changed his story eight times to save himself
On January 7, 1997, 19-year-old motel maintenance man Justin Sneed–who had a criminal record and known meth addiction, beat motel owner Barry Van Treese to death with a baseball bat. Cash was also stolen from Van Treese’s car. Sneed was caught, and in a videotaped confession with police, Sneed changed his story eight times, only implicating motel manager Richard Glossip–a man who had never been in trouble with the law–in a murder-for-hire plot after detectives fed Glossip’s name to him and suggested that if he didn’t accuse Glossip, that Sneed could be executed. That’s all the “evidence” there was against Glossip. No DNA. No fingerprints. No witnesses to corroborate Sneed’s accusation. Just the admitted killer’s story, a story that would change multiple times during Glossip’s trials as well.
Inexperienced defense attorneys bungled two trials, while law enforcement destroyed evidence and even arrested defense witnesses
Glossip was sentenced to death after his hired lawyer demonstrated that he didn’t know how to cross examine witnesses, called only one defense witness (Glossip’s girlfriend), failed to tell the jury about Sneed’s history of thievery and meth addiction, and neglected to show them Sneed’s coerced confession which featured his ever-changing story. The State Court of Criminal Appeals later overturned the conviction due to “extremely weak” evidence, and said there was “no excuse” for Glossip’s lawyer’s “unreadiness.” Glossip then had a second trial, but his new lawyers repeated the same failures (this time calling zero witnesses) and he was sentenced to death again. Meanwhile, police destroyed a critical box of crime scene and financial evidence. Prosecutors also refused to turn over security camera footage to the defense, and when witnesses came forward to challenge Sneed’s story, they were issued arrest warrants.
New witnesses say Sneed admitted to framing Glossip, and Sneed has recently attempted to recant his testimony
Since 2015, 29 new witnesses have come forward, including several people who had been locked up with Sneed. Multiple witnesses heard Sneed say he and his girlfriend committed the murder and Glossip wasn’t involved, and one witness reported Sneed even bragged about framing Glossip. Most recently, new evidence has emerged that Sneed previously asked his attorney several times about possibly recanting his testimony against Glossip.
Two independent investigations find Glossip’s conviction should be vacated
At the request of several Republican state legislators, international law firm Reed Smith conducted an independent investigation of the case. More than 30 attorneys and three investigators spent more than 3,000 hours poring over 146,000 pages of documents, and interviewed 72 witnesses, 11 jurors, and two experts. The investigation found that if a jury was presented with all the evidence now available, no reasonable juror would find Glossip guilty.
In January 2023, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond opened files that the District Attorney had long hidden from Glossip’s defense, and appointed his own independent counsel to investigate the case and files. His investigator concluded, “[I] believe the numerous and appellate defects throughout the history of this case can be remedied only by a retrial.”
Oklahoma’s pro-death penalty AG joins 45 pro-death penalty Republican state legislators in calling for a new trial
In the wake of the two independent investigations, AG Drummond, a pro-death penalty Republican, joined 62 Oklahoma state legislators–including 45 pro-death penalty Republicans–in calling for a new trial for Glossip. Drummond concluded that he “cannot stand behind the murder conviction and death sentence of Richard Glossip.” He later said that “based on the complete record including the new evidence the jury did not hear, it would represent a grave injustice to execute a man whose trial conviction was impugned by a litany of errors, that when taken in total would have created reasonable doubt. No execution should be carried out under such questionable circumstances.”
In the months since, Drummond has made unprecedented appeals on Glossip’s behalf to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA), the State Pardon and Parole Board, and the United States Supreme Court, the latter of which stayed Glossip’s execution in May of 2023.
Sign our petition, to let Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt know that the State of Oklahoma must not execute an innocent man. Even supporters of the death penalty agree no one wants to see an innocent man killed for a crime he did not commit. The State of Oklahoma cannot afford to get this wrong.
The Honorable Governor J. Kevin Stitt
From: [Your Name]
I am respectfully writing to you to express my strong belief that the State of Oklahoma must not execute Richard Glossip, an innocent man.
The independent Reed Smith investigation has uncovered new evidence of innocence no jury has seen, casting serious doubt on Glossip’s conviction. An Independent Counsel commissioned by Attorney General Drummond also identified serious flaws in Mr. Glossip’s trial and concluded that his conviction should be vacated.
Attorney General Drummond favors the death penalty, as do the 45 Republican state legislators who have joined him in calling for Glossip’s conviction to be overturned.
Even if you support the death penalty, nobody wants to see an innocent man executed. We cannot afford to get this wrong.
Thank you very much for your consideration.