Yesterday, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals granted an emergency two week stay of execution to Richard Glossip in order to consider new evidence submitted by his attorneys that may prove that Glossip is, in fact, innocent.
Thousands of supporters including Sister Helen Prejean, actress Susan Sarandon (both members of the 90 Million Strong Campaign) and Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson, have been fighting to save Glossip’s life and joined forces to ask Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin for a 60 day stay of execution to give Glossip’s attorneys time to gather new evidence to prove his innocence. On Tuesday, Governor Fallin declined to stay the execution.
Glossip’s attorneys petitioned the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, which granted the emergency two week stay just hours before Glossip was scheduled to be executed.
"The court on Wednesday granted an emergency stay of execution for two weeks to give 'fair consideration' to the new evidence his lawyers have presented.
His execution has been reset for Sept. 30 pending the results of the hearing and subsequent court motions.
Glossip was set to be put to death at 4 p.m. ET for the murder of Barry Van Treese, the owner of a motel at which he worked. Van Treese was found beaten to death with a baseball bat in a room of the Best Budget Inn in Oklahoma City.
Justin Sneed, a maintenance worker at the motel, confessed to killing Van Treese, but under police interrogation said that Glossip offered him money to carry out the murder.
In exchange for testifying against Glossip, Sneed is serving life in prison, while Glossip was sentenced to death for his role as the mastermind of the murder.
Glossip, 52, has maintained his innocence for more than 17 years on death row."
In response to news of the two week stay, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty released the following statement from its Executive Director, Diann Rust-Tierney:
“No one should be put in the horrific position of literally coming within hours of dying for a crime that he may not have even committed.
We have ample evidence nearly every day that our criminal justices system, even with the best of intentions, is limited in its ability to absolutely guarantee that we get the right results. We can’t escape the fact that we are human- -we do the best we can—but we make mistakes and that is why capital punishment is inconsistent with that simple fact.
One hundred fifty-five people have been released from death row because of innocence. Sadly others were not so fortunate.
The death penalty does not enhance public safety—it’s a fact. To the contrary, states and regions of the country that use the death penalty most cannot boast of lower homicide rates. The southern regions of the country that use the death penalty most have higher homicide rates while the northeast region, where there are fewer executions, has a lower homicide rate.
We need to focus on those things that do enhance public safety: safe and affordable housing; a great education for every child; building a strong economy that provides for livable wages; access to treatment for trauma and support for all victims of crime and access to mental health services.
We are grateful for the outcome here today, but it only underscores the need for Oklahoma—where there have been so many problems in its use of capital punishment-- to move forward to halt executions and end the practice altogether.
We call on people of good will, who want to see this country move forward to join us in our effort to halt all executions and end the death penalty once and for all.”
Richard Glossip is just one of far too many men and woman currently on death row in the United States. If you have not already done so, please sign the 90 Million Strong Pledge to #HaltAllExecutions today and urge your family and friends to sign the Pledge as well.
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has created the 90 Million Strong Campaign to unite the voices of those who believe the death penalty is wrong. We need to demonstrate that the broad public support to end this practice is already here in America, and 90 million people speaking up can make a difference.
For breaking news and additional information on death penalty abolition developments across the country, please be sure to follow the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty on Twitter and like us on Facebook.