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Man who's been on death row for 24 years escapes death for seventh time

Man who's been on death row for 24 years escapes death for seventh time

Richard Glossip has been reprieved once again while new evidence is examined

A man that has been on death row for nearly 25 years has been given yet another reprieve, his seventh in total.

Richard Glossip has had his execution date pushed back to February next year at the earliest so that an appeals court can consider his claim to be innocent.

Glossip was found guilty of the murder of his former hotel boss Barry Van Treese and given the death penalty for paying the hotel’s maintenance man Justin Sneed to kill him.

Sneed was a key witness in two trials in which Glossip was convicted, and was not himself sentenced to death.

Now, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has signed an executive order pushing back the execution, which had been due to take place on 21 November.

Richard Glossip.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections

In 1997, Glossip was convicted and sentenced to death for his role in the 1997 murder-for-hire, and the Attorney General John O’Connor remains convinced of his guilt.

He said: “After 25 years, justice is still on hold for Barry Van Treese and his family.

“Mr. Van Treese was in a room of the motel he owned when he was brutally murdered with a baseball bat by Justin Sneed, an individual Richard Glossip hired to work at the motel and later enlisted to commit the murder.

“Two different juries found Glossip guilty of murder for hire.”

Van Treese’s family have not commented on the news regarding Stitt’s decision.

Glossip has been protesting his innocence for years, having asked the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to bring a new evidence hearing following the release of the findings of an independent investigation.

Protesters outside the prison in 2015.

The findings of the investigation – performed by Houston law firm Reed Smith – asked further questions about whether Glossip is guilty of the crime or not.

Concerns were raised over claims of lost or destroyed evidence as well as leading questions asked by a detective to Sneed that implicated Glossip.

Glossip’s lawyer Don Knight said: “The newly uncovered evidence shows a concerted effort by the state to destroy and hide evidence that is favorable to Rich, even to this day, and, most shockingly, to manufacture trial testimony they needed to convict him.

“There is now overwhelming support for what Reed Smith has concluded after its thorough investigation — that no reasonable juror who heard all the evidence would find him guilty.”

Glossip was set to be executed at Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

Glossip, who is now 59 years old, has been just hours from execution in the past as recently as 2015.

On that occasion, the state realised that they had been sent the wrong lethal drug, prompting a period of seven years without the death penalty being carried out in Oklahoma.

Featured Image Credit: Death Penalty Information Center/Save Richard Glossip/Facebook

Topics: US News, Crime, Police