An Innocent Man on Death Row in Oklahoma: Tell Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt to Stop the Execution of Richard Glossip

The Honorable Governor J. Kevin Stitt

An innocent man faces execution while the confessed killer is serving life. Two independent reports have found that Richard Glossip's conviction should be vacated.

Richard Glossip has been on Oklahoma’s death row for more than 26 years even though it is not
disputed that another man, Justin Sneed, murdered Barry Van Treese. Mr. Glossip’s conviction is
based almost entirely on statements made by Justin Sneed that it now clearly appears he wanted
to recant. Mr. Glossip has always maintained his innocence.

There is widespread consensus that Mr. Glossip’s conviction is unreliable and that he must not be
executed. 62 Oklahoma lawmakers including 45 Republicans have called for Mr. Glossip’s
conviction to be overturned. Support also comes from the sitting Oklahoma Attorney General
and numerous current and former prosecutors around the country.

Sign now to tell Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt to stop the execution of Richard Glossip and call the Governor here: 405-521-2342.

On January 26, 2023, Attorney General Gentner Drummond announced that he was directing an
Independent Counsel to conduct a comprehensive review of Mr. Glossip’s murder conviction and
death sentence. An ad hoc group of Republican Oklahoma state legislators had previously called
for an independent investigation, and commissioned their own that was conducted by the
international law firm Reed Smith. That investigation resulted in a finding that, if a jury was
presented with all the evidence now available, no reasonable juror would find Mr. Glossip guilty
of murder for hire.

At the conclusion of his Independent Counsel’s investigation, AG Drummond stated: “After
thorough and serious deliberation, I have concluded that I cannot stand behind the murder
conviction and death sentence of Richard Glossip,” and he asked the Court of Criminal Appeals
to set aside Mr. Glossip’s conviction and remand the case to the district court. That request was
denied on April 20.

AG Drummond then made the unprecedented request of asking the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole
Board to grant Mr. Glossip’s clemency request. In a letter to the Board, AG Drummond wrote:
“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.”

On April 26, 2023, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board split 2-2 on Mr. Glossip’s clemency
request. This results in a denial of clemency under state law. The Board’s fifth member was
recused because his wife was the lead prosecutor in Mr. Glossip’s case; no unconflicted
replacement was seated.

New Findings:

Findings from the Reed Smith investigation commissioned by Oklahoma legislators show that
“the 2004 trial and all of its failures can neither be relied on to support a murder for hire
conviction nor as a basis for the government to take the life of Richard E. Glossip.”

At the request of Oklahoma State Sen. Blake Stephens (R), Sen. David Bullard (R), Rep. Kevin
McDugle (R), Rep. JJ Humphrey (R), and Rep. Garry Mize (R), Reed Smith assembled a pro
bono team of over 30 attorneys, three investigators and two paralegals who spent more than
3,000 hours combined on this investigation. The team reviewed over 146,000 pages in 12,234
separate documents; contacted 72 police and civilian witnesses, 11 jurors, and two experts;
interviewed 37 witnesses (police and civilian) and seven jurors, two experts, several members of
the media with knowledge of the case; and conducted a 3.5-hour interview of Richard Glossip in
the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

Reed Smith has offered new evidence to contradict, one by one, the findings presented to the
jury, evidence that jurors said they “wish they’d seen” and that almost certainly would have
resulted in a not-guilty vote.

That evidence includes:

  • The jury did not see the videotaped interrogation of Justin Sneed, which clearly shows the detectives contaminating that interrogation by mentioning Glossip’s name six times in twenty minutes and de facto procured Sneed’s implication of Glossip by laying out a rhetorical “connect-the-dots'' blueprint by which Sneed could confess, point a finger at Glossip, and save his own life. “Since Sneed’s testimony was the sole evidence that Glossip planned the murder and hired Sneed to carry it out, Glossip’s conviction appears to be significantly tainted.”

  • The jury never saw evidence of Justin Sneed’s drug use, criminal and violent history, or testimony from witnesses describing his “meth rages."

  • The jury never saw or heard evidence that would have established that so-called witnesses for the prosecution like disgraced former law enforcement official Cliff Everhart lacked credibility altogether and indeed may have interfered with or impeded a proper police investigation, as well as perpetrated crimes related to the murder themselves.

  • The jury received incorrect jury instructions that allowed them to set aside as optional the need to find corroborating evidence to find Richard Glossip guilty. One juror said “the jury instructions were very persuasive.”

  • The jury never saw significant evidence of Sneed’s motives for conducting this assault on his own – that he needed money - including to support his illegal drug habit, that he knew Mr. Van Treese carried cash and/or kept cash in his car, and that he was upset with Mr. Van Treese for not paying him for his work at the motel and was experiencing the after-effects of taking methamphetamines right before the crime.

According to the Reed Smith report, “If the jury had been presented with the full picture of Sneed’s true character, we believe they would have had no problem concluding he was capable of committing this crime on his own, whether it was a robbery gone bad or an intentional killing.”

Previous Findings:

In a previous post-conviction investigation, Glossip’s lawyers found:

  • Multiple witnesses jailed with Sneed who heard Sneed spill the truth about the murder: It was a robbery for drug money, planned and carried out by Sneed and his girlfriend, and Richard Glossip had nothing to do with it.

  • Associates of Sneed and his girlfriend who gave sworn affidavits with new evidence about Sneed's raging drug addiction — a clear motive for a robbery-turned-murder.

  • Medical and forensic experts who found that many of the facts the District Attorney had alleged about the crime and the motive simply were not true.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has the power to stop the execution of Richard Glossip.
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.
Sponsored by

To: The Honorable Governor J. Kevin Stitt
From: [Your Name]

I respectfully call on you to stop the execution of Richard Glossip. The independent Reed Smith investigation has uncovered new evidence of innocence no jury has seen, casting serious doubt on the conviction of Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Glossip. 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. And despite the unprecedented support for clemency from Attorney General Drummond, the short-handed Pardon and Parole Board’s 2-2 split vote resulted in a denial of clemency for Mr. Glossip.

You have the power to prevent the State of Oklahoma from executing an innocent man. We cannot afford to get this wrong.

Thank you very much for your consideration.