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After Probe, OK AG Seeks New Trial For Death Row Inmate Glossip

Oklahoma’s Attorney General, Gentner Drummond, is seeking a new trial in the case of death row inmate Richard Glossip, who has spent a quarter of a century in prison for the death of his boss in 1997. The request was made after a special counsel report Thursday recommended Glossip’s capital murder conviction be vacated and that he be granted a new trial, reports CNN. Glossip has narrowly avoided death three times, as previous execution dates ended with reprieves or stays of execution. It's now up to the Oklahoma Court of Appeals to rule on the request for a new trial. Glossip is scheduled to be executed on May 18. A former motel manager, Glossip has been behind bars for 26 years for ordering the killing of Barry Van Treese, which he denies. Another employee, then-19-year-old Justin Sneed, admitted to killing Van Treese with a baseball bat in Oklahoma City. Prosecutors told jurors Sneed killed Van Treese in a murder-for-hire plot orchestrated by Glossip. Recently revealed evidence proves Glossip’s innocence, his defense team says. “It is now clear that it would be unconscionable for the State to move forward with Mr. Glossip’s execution when there is so much doubt surrounding his conviction,” said Glossip attorney Don Knight.

The international law firm Reed Smith spent more than 3,000 pro bono hours investigating Glossip’s case and published a 343-page report last year, commissioned by a bipartisan group of state lawmakers. The investigation “revealed the state’s intentional destruction of evidence before trial and an inadequate police investigation,” Reed Smith said. The law firm and Glossip’s attorney have since uncovered more evidence, including letters Sneed wrote in prison. In a letter to his attorney, Sneed wrote, “There are a lot of things right now that are eating at me. Somethings I need to clean up.” Glossip's defense argues the letters show that Sneed may have been trying to recant his testimony. Attorney General Drummond said he “cannot stand behind the murder conviction and death sentence” of Glossip. “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,” Drummond said. “Considering everything I know about this case, I do not believe that justice is served by executing a man based on the testimony of a compromised witness.”


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