Oklahoma's attorney general has denied a request from more than one-third of the state's lawmakers to support a new hearing for a death row inmate who claims he is innocent.
Richard Glossip is requesting an evidentiary hearing from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, and 61 lawmakers, mostly Republican, wrote a letter to Attorney General John O'Connor asking for his support of the hearing. With O'Connor's denial, the court is expected to reject Glossip's innocence claims, as it has done before.
“While my office has the utmost respect for the opinions of the members of the Legislature who signed a letter in support of Glossip’s request for an evidentiary hearing, it is the courts who are authorized to make decisions regarding claims of factual or legal innocence raised on appeal,” O’Connor said in a letter. “With that in mind, I look to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to carefully consider the claims before it and render a decision that complies with Oklahoma law.”
Glossip, 59, is set to be executed Sept. 22 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.
Rep. Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow, has led a charge in the Legislature to raise awareness of Glossip's case and convince others of his innocence. Though McDugle supports the death penalty, in the case of "child murder and the like," he has said he would push to abolish the practice in Oklahoma if Glossip is executed.
The international law firm Reed Smith investigated Glossip's case free of charge at McDugle's request and found "that no reasonable juror who heard all the evidence would find Mr. Glossip guilty," according to the letter from lawmakers.
Glossip's attorneys have said the report identified a range of instances in which the state failed Glossip throughout the judicial process. Glossip himself has said prosecutors intentionally destroyed evidence, his trial attorneys were ineffective and he is ineligible for the death penalty because of intellectual disability.
Glossip's clemency hearing before the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board is set for Aug. 23.
Glossip was scheduled to be executed Sept. 30, 2015, and was issued a stay because the state received the wrong drug for the lethal injection. Days later, a moratorium was placed on Oklahoma executions that lasted until Oct. 28, 2021.
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Richard Glossip's new hearing request not supported by Oklahoma AG