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Oklahoma Board Rejects Clemency For Glossip In 2-2 Vote

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board rejected clemency Wednesday for high-profile death row inmate Richard Glossip, ignoring pleas by the state attorney general that he did not receive a fair trial due to evidence suppression. The five-member board deadlocked 2-2 after the nearly four-hour hearing. Former prosecutor Richard Smothermon recused himself due to a relative's involvement in Glossip’s case, making the three-vote majority needed for clemency more difficult, reports Courthouse News Service. Glossip, 60, was convicted of masterminding the 1997 murder of his boss, Barry Van Treese, 54, at the Best Budget Inn in Oklahoma City. He is scheduled to die on May 18. It is the ninth execution date set for Glossip, who has come within hours of execution three previous times.

His conviction largely rests on the confession of Justin Sneed, a co-worker who beat Van Treese to death with a bat. Sneed received a life sentence after testifying he was hired by Glossip for the killing. Republican Attorney General Gentner Drummond told the board the Glossip should not face execution due to the hiding of a box of evidence by either the prosecution or police during his trial. "I believe it would be a grave injustice to execute an individual whose trial conviction was beset by a litany of errors,” Drummond said. “My heart truly hurts for the Van Treese family and what they have experienced over the past 26 years.” The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals originally threw out Glossip’s 1998 conviction based on ineffective counsel, resulting in a retrial in 2004 and death sentence. Widow Donna Van Treese urged the board to deny clemency. She said the family remains “shattered” by the death of the father of five. The board’s rejection comes one week after the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals upheld Glossip's conviction, concluding his case “has been thoroughly investigated and reviewed” and that he has been granted “unprecedented access” to prosecutors’ files. Glossip’s supporters are now expected to ask Gov. Kevin Stitt to grant a reprieve.


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