Republican legislator says recently-surfaced evidence proves Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Glossip is innocent

Oklahoma City – New legal filings came last week from an attorney for a well-known death row inmate last Friday (July 1). The action seeks new proceedings in one of the most controversial death penalty cases in state history.

Efforts to get Richard Glossip’s death sentence overturned or commuted have intensified over the past seven years, since he barely dodged three separate near-executions.

A recently released report commissioned by conservative members of the State Legislature has led one to state flatly that Glossip is innocent in the 1997 death of Oklahoma City innkeeper Barry Van Treese – and that his life must be spared.

After a lengthy delay in Oklahoma executions, the state began implementing death penalties again last year.

Challenges based on questions about the state’s lethal objection lingered into this year. A federal judge found the state’s three-drug lethal injection method was constitutional, and the state began the process to seek execution dates for 28 death row inmates.

As the filing neared on Friday, the state of Oklahoma announced a September 22 execution date for Glossip.

State Rep Representative Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow, who has long supported the death penalty, is adamant that Glossip must not be executed.

According to Stan Perry, the Reed Smith law firm found information indicating lost or destroyed evidence in the case. A detective working the case was described as biased against Glossip, improperly asking leading questions of co-defendant Justin Sneed as a way to implicate Glossip in the slaying of Van Treese.

The report of the Texas law firm can be accessed here:

( and press release here):

An earlier filing in the case can be accessed at this link:

The office of the Oklahoma County District Attorney has denied suppression of evidence, saying files and records have been examined, that Glossip is guilty, and that he should be executed.

D.A. David Prater has said if Glossip were retried, he would again seek execution.

The Associated Press reported Rep. McDugle’s passion in the matter in a mid-June news story:

McDugle vowed, “If we put Richard Glossip to death I will fight in this state to abolish the death penalty simply because the process is not pure. I do believe in the death penalty, I believe it needs to be there, but the process to take someone to death has to be of the highest integrity.”

Don Knight, Attorney for Richard Glossip, provided this statement in response to the Reed Smith Investigation’s released findings in June:

“The Reed Smith report presents the clearest evidence yet of Richard Glossip’s innocence. It is now undeniable that a botched and sloppy police investigation, reckless handling of evidence by the prosecution, and incompetent defense attorneys put an innocent man on death row. I believe it would be a disservice to the people of Oklahoma and our justice system to execute one of Oklahoma’s citizens on such flimsy grounds.”

He said the Glossip defense team would “file a request for a hearing with the Oklahoma Court of Appeals so this new evidence of innocence can be examined in a court of law.”

Knight had asked the attorney general to “refrain from setting an execution date” until the new evidence is considered.

The attorney, who works pro bono for Glossip also said “25 years on death row for a crime we all now know he did not commit, is a terrible injustice. Thankfully, there is still time to make it right.”

Note: Pat McGuigan is founder, publisher and editor of, an independent, non-partisan and locally-managed news service based in Oklahoma City. He is a member of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame and the Society of Professional Journalists. Pat is a past member of the board of directors for BirthChoice of Oklahoma. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus Oklahoma Council No. 1038, where he formerly served as Grand Knight, and as Faithful Navigator for the Chief Justice Kane Fourth Degree Assembly of the Knights. Pat and his wife are members of the Cathedral Parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Oklahoma’s capital city.