Tomorrow Oklahoma will execute Richard Glossip unless Governor Mary Fallin issues a temporary stay of his execution. Not only does Glossip’s execution introduce the specter of another possibly torturous death with the problematic drug midazolam still in the mix, but his conviction itself is far from solid, primarily based on the testimony of his co-defendant, Justin Sneed, who actually committed the murder.
In an article published by Slate, Robert Smith and Ben Cohen provide deeper insight into the disturbing twists and turns in this case, including excerpts from the interrogation of Justin Sneed and his shifting versions of the murder of Barry Van Treese.
I served as a guest lecturer today in a class at a local university, discussing the mounting problems with and growing concerns about the death penalty in Tennessee and nationwide. I mentioned Glossip’s case and that without the Governor’s intervention, he will likely be executed tomorrow based on the word of a man who was caught and trying to save his own life by pointing the finger at Glossip.
One of the students asked, “Can someone get the death penalty without physical evidence?” It seems outlandish given all we know about the issues leading to wrongful convictions–faulty eyewitness identification, coerced confessions, bad deal making with co-defendants and jailhouse snitches–contributing factors leading to 155 convictions and later exonerations of those who spent years on death row before evidence of their innocence was considered. Given the sheer number of exonerations and the untold number of those who have already been executed for crimes that they did not commit, one would think that at a minimum the state would need to present compelling physical evidence connecting someone directly to a murder in order for death to be on the table. But that is not the case.
Please consider signing the petition or calling Governor Mary Fallin (405-521-2015) asking her to stay the execution of Richard Glossip so that evidence of his innocence can be considered before it is too late. Time is running out.
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