Foes of death penalty continue to advocate for Glossip’s life

OKLAHOMA CITY In recent days, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said the execution of Richard Glossip, convicted in the ‘murder-for-hire’ killing of Barry Van Treese in 1997, should go forward.

Responding to the governor’s statement, leaders of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (OK-CADP) have renewed their pleas for Glossip’s life. His execution has been scheduled for September 16.

Connie Johnson, OK-CADP chair said, “I am shocked and disappointed that the governor of Oklahoma is unwilling to even consider that we may have Richard Glossip’s execution wrong. It is disheartening that neither she nor the Pardon & Parole Board is willing to be educated specifically about what’s wrong with Gov. Mary Fallin’s seemingly boastful statement proclaiming that ‘Richard Glossip was sentenced to death by two juries and should therefore be held accountable and executed for his crimes’ dismisses recent reports about the 150 exoneration’s in cases where a jury determined guilt.

“If there is any accountability to be had, there’s certainly enough to go around. Citizens must hold the state of Oklahoma accountable before we murder a man who is possibly innocent. The question that begs an answer is, “Can the state reverse a mistake?” Or will we just cavalierly say, ‘Oh well.’

“Justin Sneed’s actions, that resulted in the brutal murder of Barry Van Treese, a husband and a father of seven children, will now lead to the state’s brutal murder of Richard Glossip, another husband and father. Sneed’s own daughter wrote that he bargained with the police and lied on Richard Glossip in order to avoid the death penalty himself.

The Governor’s version of the incidents that led to Barry Van Treese’s murder simply restates faulty information that convicted Richard Glossip in the first place. 

Advocates are asking the Governor and the Pardon and Parole Board for both a procedural and factual review of the case. …

“The governor of Oklahoma may not have the authority to grant any inmate clemency without a recommendation from the Pardon and Parole Board but, in the case of Richard Glossip, she does have an opportunity to ensure mercy and compassion by not causing the state of Oklahoma to kill an innocent man.”

OK-CADP spokesperson Rev. Adam Leathers said, “We at the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty are saddened at Governor Fallin’s recent press release. … Even for those who affirm the death penalty, Mr. Glossip’s case should cause great concern to the citizens of Oklahoma.

“We hope and pray that the Spirit will move within her heart and she will reconsider. More importantly, we ask the people of Oklahoma this: If one person, who had his life to gain from it, claimed you committed a crime and because of that claim, you were facing your own death in a little over a month from now…what would you expect from your government? 60 days is a small price to pay to avoid killing an innocent man.”

Attorney Don Knight said, “We are disappointed by Governor Fallin’s premature statement released to the press … that she will not consider granting a stay of Mr. Glossip’s execution that is currently scheduled for September 16.

“It is indisputable, even by the governor’s office, that the only evidence against Mr. Glossip was the testimony of Justin Sneed, who admitted to killing Mr. Van Treese, lied about it to police when he was questioned, and gave his testimony only to save himself from the death penalty.

“The two trials in this case proved only that this case is rife with factual problems. No one should be put to death based only upon the word of a convicted murderer. We implore those who know about the case, or who know Mr. Sneed, to come forward and help us with the information that we need to file a new petition.

“If you have any such information, please call Don Knight at 303-797-1645. It is our hope that Governor Fallin will reconsider and agree to meet with us prior to the date of the scheduled execution.

“No one wants an innocent man to be executed. We will continue to do all we can to stop this terrible miscarriage of Justice.”