OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday issued a stay of execution for death row inmate Richard Glossip to give time for the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to review a request for a new hearing in his case.
Stitt’s executive order implements a 60-day stay that pushes back Glossip’s execution date.
Glossip, 59, is now scheduled to be executed Dec. 8 instead of Sept. 22. The stay will also push back Glossip’s clemency hearing before the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board.
Glossip is set to be executed for the 1997 beating death of his boss, Oklahoma City motel owner Barry Van Treese. A motel maintenance man, Justin Sneed, confessed to the killing, saying Glossip offered to pay him $10,000 to do it to keep from being fired.
Glossip’s attorneys contend Sneed killed the motel owner during a botched robbery for drug money and lied about Glossip to avoid the death penalty.
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Don Knight, Glossip’s attorney, praised Stitt for issuing the stay. Knight said new evidence of Glossip’s innocence continues to emerge on a near-daily basis.
“We are extremely grateful for Governor Stitt’s thoughtful and compassionate decision to grant a 60-day reprieve for Rich’s execution date, and to do so sufficiently in advance of the August 23 clemency hearing to spare everyone the trauma that such a hearing entails,” Knight said in a statement. “This will also spare Mr. Glossip from beginning the cruel execution protocol for a fourth time.”
This is the fourth time Glossip has had an execution date stayed or reprieved, according to a news release from his attorneys. He has been served his last meal three times. In 2015, he came within an hour of being executed when the execution was called off because a doctor discovered the wrong heart-stopping drug had been delivered.
Glossip’s attorneys are challenging his conviction at the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals and pushing for a new hearing where they say they will present new evidence of their client’s innocence.
The attorney general’s office maintains Glossip committed the crime for which he was convicted.
“Glossip orchestrated the murder of Barry Van Treese,” state attorneys wrote in recent court filings at the Court of Criminal Appeals. “A jury sentenced him to death. This Board must see that justice is done.”
Rep. Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow, said he asked Stitt to issue the stay to give the Court of Criminal Appeals more time to review legal filings requesting a new hearing for Glossip. McDugle, a Republican, has been one of the most outspoken supporters pushing for a review of Glossip’s case.
McDugle said he was thrilled the governor granted his request.
“I just told the governor, we’ve got to stand for truth in Oklahoma,” McDugle said. “The governor is all about finding the truth, and if the truth is there’s not enough evidence to convict, then I think he will stand with that.”
Stitt’s executive order does not make a judgment on Glossip’s case. Stitt will get a chance to weigh in on Glossip’s execution only if the Pardon and Parole Board recommends clemency for the inmate.