‘’I am going to dance to the death chamber and walk there of my free will. It is going to be the happiest execution they have ever seen.’’ Richard Glossip
“We now return our souls to the creator,
As we stand on the edge of eternal darkness.
Let our chant fill the void
In order that others may know.
In the land of the night
The ship of the sun
Is drawn by the grateful dead.”
— Egyptian Book of the Dead
Let it be known that Richard Glossip would not be grateful to die, but his statement about dancing to his execution expresses how at peace he is with his actions and ready to go to his death, grateful for the fact that he feels exonerated by his numerous supporters, if not yet by the stubborn Oklahoma killing machine.
Through the years, he has learned to enjoy the simple things in life and never lost his joy. It does not mean that he does not have moments of fear and desperation, but he always rises above the darkness and lives his life free of hatred or anger, which are built-in emotions usually associated with a wrongful incarceration.
Several prison guards support Glossip and felt compelled to talk about his great attitude and character. During all his years of incarceration, he never was manipulative, unruly or difficult. And this is the same man his supporters, friends and family learned to love and respect.
Every time Glossip was up for execution, the prison protocol required to have him moved to a special cell for 35 days where he would be deprived of his personal effects and any human contact until D day.
“The worse thing is they took away my music, I had a $4,000 MP3 player.”
In Oklahoma, inmates have to pay $2 a song if they want to add to their collection and Glossip was no exception. He has been relying greatly on music to keep his sanity and spends hours every day listening to his favorite groups to soothe his mind and make his spirit soar. For Richard, to be without his music is the ultimate deprivation.
Ironically, when asked about his favorite group, he answered ‘The Killers’. But when I think of Richard, the Grateful Dead comes to mind; an American rock band formed in 1965 in California. To this day, GD has a devoted fan base still delighting in their eclectic music.
I recently became aware of their music and realized that I had never paid attention to the group before because I was under the impression that the name Grateful Dead meant dark and heavy metal music; which is not the case at all.
I also became aware of the Richard Glossip’s case fairly recently; considering that he has been on death row for 18 years. And not unlike the Grateful Dead music, I realized that in spite of the death penalty hanging over his head and the gravity of the crime he was accused of perpetrating, Glossip was a pretty nice and eclectic guy. Not at all the dark mastermind killer that the state of Oklahoma had tried to portray.
Glossip was born in Galesburg, Illinois in 1963, as the seventh child of a poor family of 16 children. In spite of their limitations, his parents always worked really hard to put food on the table and a roof over their head. But the total lack of space and privacy made him answer the call of the streets at a young age and at 14, he had already left home to try to make it on his own.
His education was limited but he was a very hard worker and possessed street smarts galore. He married a lovely African-American girl at age 16 and they had two daughters, but the marriage eventually broke down and he left his family behind. By his own admission, it was not his proudest moment. The marriage was rendered very difficult because of outside racial tensions and their tender age.
Glossip moved on and it was not long before he held managerial positions in the pizza business. His specialty was to take on a low producing restaurant and make it profitable again. No job was too menial or too big for Richard, and he was so good at revamping a dead franchise that he became highly in demand and went from one location to the other yielding the same great results.
He remarried and had two more children and even if his employers were all raving about his work, it meant that he often neglected his family life to be the excellent performer that they wanted him to be. Not only did he work extremely hard, but he had the reputation of being honest and reliable; qualities that made him a valuable asset for employers.
When his second marriage fell apart, he moved to Oklahoma. In 1995, he took a job managing the Best Budget Inn owned by Barry Van Treese, a businessman who owned another motel in Tulsa and would visit the motel every two weeks to retrieve the receipts, inspect the premises, and make payroll.
In exchange for his work, Richard Glossip was given a free room at the motel and he lived on site with his then girlfriend, D-Anna Wood. He had to work at all hours of the day and night, but as usual, he did it with gusto. He was given a monthly salary of $1500 and a monthly performance bonus.
They had a day desk manager named Billye Hooper and in 1997, Glossip brought in Justin Sneed also known as Justin Taylor and his half-brother Wes Taylor to help him with maintenance work. In exchange for a free room and the occasional meal, the brothers helped him with the upkeep of the rundown rooms. Justin and Wes were part of a roofing crew from Texas and had decided to quit to stay at the motel.
Their father who was a known skinhead came back to get Wes who had to turn himself in for probation violations in Texas, and basically left Justin behind.
By his own admission, Richard was surrounded by criminal elements even within his own family, and at his place of employment, but he managed to keep his nose clean. He did pride himself in paying his taxes and earning his own money. To this day, what he misses the most is holding an honest job. In jail, he kept his pod so clean that he was set as an example by employees. He is the type of man who likes earning his keep.
Justin Sneed Taylor
Justin who was only 19 in 1997, and already a father, was a known meth head and a small time thief with not much education. His brother Wes was also involved in drugs and had proposed to set up a lab and rob people at the motel before returning to Texas. Wes had even approached Glossip to steal from Van Treese, but he had flatly refused to get involved.
Sneed could have worked with the roofing crew if he wanted to, but chose to stay and hang around the motel. Glossip befriended him and would share food and video games with him, not knowing he stole from cars and some of the rooms while doing his maintenance work. But in no way did Justin depend on Glossip for his survival. He could have gone back to his roofing job at any time.
Some say that Glossip was a figure of authority for Justin, but knowing how rebellious the teen had been in the past, it is doubtful that a straight arrow like Richard could have had a negative influence or held any power over this already troubled guy.
Barry Van Treese
Van Treese was born in 1942 in Kansas City, Mo., and grew up and went to high school in Lawton. He graduated from Cameron University in 1963 and received a master’s degree in banking and finance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1979. He became a motel owner in 1979. A solid family man and father of 5, Van Treese was known to be a tough boss, but with a good heart. He had brought Richard Glossip on board in1995 to make his motel profitable again; not an easy feat considering the place was literally in shambles.
Two years later, on January 7, 1997, Van Treese was found murdered in room 102 of the Best Budget Inn.
At 4am on January 7, 1997, after his usual late hour bedtime, Glossip said he heard a loud banging on the door and some noise his girlfriend D-Anna later described as scraping on the wall. When he opened the door, he saw Sneed standing there with a black eye and acting strangely. Sneed told him that two drunks had broken a window and that he had to chase them away. When asked about his black eye, Justin said he hit his face on the shower tray, but when asked again, bluntly said that he had killed Van Treese. Looking at the parking lot, Glossip did not see Barry’s car at his usual spot, and if he is to be believed, did not take Justin’s murder statement seriously, and concluded that the guy must have been messing with him.
He instructed Justin to put plexiglass on the broken window and accompanied him later on to make sure it was done properly. Glossip denies ever entering room 102 and none of his fingerprints were ever found at the scene. Justin had taped a shower curtain to cover the inside window and the thermostat was jacked up to keep the place cool. Once the outside window was covered, Glossip went back to his room to catch some z’s with D-Anna.
Let’s not forget that it was not the Hilton, but the Bates Motel so it would have taken much more than what he saw or heard to hit the panic button. He was used to this place being a bed of oddities, strange happenings, noises and even fights. He might have reacted with more urgency in other surroundings, but this was just another night at the crazy motel.
According to Glossip, when he woke up later on, he made his usual rounds and then went to cash his check with D-Anna before going to Wal-Mart. While in the store, they were paged by the motel desk clerk who told them that their boss’ car was found but they could not locate him.They went back to the motel and were told that it had been searched already and Van Treese was nowhere to be found. This is when he asked D-Anna if he should talk about what Justin shared with him, but she told him to keep it to himself until they knew more. He admits now that it was a big mistake.
Richard had a first interview with the cops and he was very cooperative, but never told them about Justin’s statement. Instead, he told them he would bring him to them if he could find him.
After a second interview, he was arrested and held until Justin Sneed was apprehended.
After his first police interview, Glossip started selling personal effects to get an attorney. It was obvious that he was in trouble and knew he had to get legal representation. The amount of money he collected from the sale plus his paycheck is what he had on him when they arrested him as he was coming out of a lawyer’s office.
The police interviews
I read the Richard Glossip’s police interviews and listened to the poor quality taped interview conducted by detectives Bemo and Cook as well as the Justin Sneed’s interrogations.
It was clear from the start that these dicks were not conducting by the book interviews. Their approach was kind of similar with both men; give up the other and it might be beneficial for you. They jumped to conclusions right away and decided what was what without the benefit of evidence or of a thorough investigation.
At first, Glossip did not name Sneed even if he promised countless times to direct him to them if he saw or heard from him and to let them know right away if he found out where he was. In fact, he was adamant about it.
He definitely should have told them right away about Sneed’s comment, but he had already painted himself in a corner with this one and most people get that it is not our first reflex to snitch on someone we know, unless we are sure that something illegal really happened, and even then, we prefer that the cops figure it out on their own not to carry this burden.
Even if they had no evidence against Glossip, it was clear from the start that they were accusing him of being involved and that he had to defend himself pronto.
I found it quite interesting that without knowing that Cliff Everhart, the guy who worked security for the motel, would point the finger at him or that the desk clerk, Bonnye Hooper, would try to smear his name, he had already told the investigators that he suspected Everhart was involved and that Hooper and a friend were making money under the table by renting rooms and keeping the proceeds. They would clean the room very early in the morning so no one would know it had been occupied and would pocket the price of admission.
It might explain their eagerness to cooperate fully with the authorities and the sometimes doubtful comments they made about Richard. Hooper told the cops that Glossip asked her not have housekeeping done in room 102 that morning because it was rented to a couple of drunks who busted the window. But in fact, it was Sneed who had told the maid not to go in there.
Glossip reminded the cops that he was always very cooperative with them when they came to the motel in any official capacity. The place was crawling with seedy people, prostitutes and drugs and every time the cops came by, they could count on good ole Richard to be on the right side of the law so he thought they would trust him to tell them the truth.
He basically told them that Sneed was different since a month and that they had distanced themselves from him. He was hanging out with the wrong crowd and less and less with him and D-Anna.
He recounted the story of the drunks, the broken window and going shopping with his girl until they were asked to come back.
During the second interview, they accused him of having stolen the money in his possession and of having masterminded the attack on Barry. Glossip had $1,700 on him when he was arrested because he had just sold his personal belongings and cashed his paycheck. He had the names and phone numbers of the people who gave him cash for his aquarium, vending machines and other items. Cliff Everhart freely admitted that he had bought some of the items. But the cops did not even bother calling any of these people.
They had not found Sneed yet and they made it clear that when they would, he would tell on him and things would get worse for him. It sounded like they wanted this case solved and fast. So they were pressuring him into a confession to close the deal.
No matter what he said, they were not listening no more.
It turns out that Justin Taylor Sneed was hanging out under a bridge with his roofer friends doing drugs during the week he was missing. He kept a drawer of personal effects at the roofers’ apartment and they found bloody money in it. It had Van Treese’s DNA and his on it. He was cooked. And let’s not forget that the fact that he had some space at these guys’ pad, indicated that he was in no way shape or form stuck at the motel under Glossip’s thumb.
He gave the cops so many different versions that I am surprised anyone could believe a word this guy had to say about Glossip or anyone else for that matter.
At first, he said he didn’t even know Richard’s last name or Van Treese. He had nothing to do with the whole thing and just in case he had to throw someone under the bus, he said that his brother Wes had initially mentioned staging a burglary to get Van Treese’s money.
What the cops should have taken from this first statement is that Sneed had just established FACT 1: it was a well-known fact among the residents of the motel from the beginning that Barry came regularly to pick up money and would have some in his room or in his car. And his own brother mentioned robbing the guy.
After denying any involvement, Sneed was told by the cops that they knew he had participated, but that they believed he was not the mastermind. They also told him that they had Glossip in custody because ‘some people’ thought he was involved. They told him ‘’He is putting it all on you.’’ He had tried to involve his brother in the planning, but they were now offering him Glossip and lying about it to boot so it became his lucky day.
FACT 2: Sneed then admitted to the robbery. He never intended to kill Van Treese, but he went in with a baseball bat just in case. It was never supposed to be a murder.
FACT 3: He said he wanted to steal the car keys to get the money in Barry’s car, but when Barry woke up, he hit him just to knock him out. When things got out of hand, and Barry put up a fight, Sneed ended up breaking the window with the bat and killing the poor man. But it was never his intention. The fact that he broke the room window in his crazed state, should have told them that he was not in his right mind.
FACT 4: After killing VT, Sneed took the car keys, moved the car and stole the money. He never had any further plans as what to do with the body or clean the room. This proves in itself that he never intended to kill him and it was a robbery gone bad done by a meth head too out of his mind to do or know better.
Instead of leaving it at this, the cops kept on pressuring him to name Glossip, which Sneed did happily to save his own butt from the death penalty. They offered him life instead of death in a medium security prison if he testified against Richard, so he obviously took the offer. It makes one wonder if they work on commission and had something to gain by catching two birds instead of one.
In a way, it is hard to blame this screw up of a guy for taking the deal and snitching on his friend. When your life is on the line, you will do anything to avoid dire consequences. He was only 19 and pretty messed up to begin with. And if he was to recant, he would probably have faced horrible conditions; but there is also a moral concept called ‘doing the right thing.’
He told the investigators what they wanted to hear: ‘’We went to get the money out of the car and took it back to my room, so I guess his girlfriend wouldn’t know nothing or nothing like that. And we split the money.’’ When they asked him how much did you get, he said ‘’Uh, like about $1,900. I mean, he told me that the guy was sitting on like $7,000, but it only come out to being a little less than five, I think.’’
According to Sneed, he had obeyed Glossip to get money, some job opportunities and to help because VT intended to fire him. It did not really make sense, but it gave the investigators what they wanted.
Two birds with one bat
The cops thought they had their men and had unilaterally decided, without any evidence whatsoever, that Glossip was the mastermind and Sneed his accomplice. A gift all tied up with a big bow.
The problem is that Sneed’s prints were all over room 102 and in Van Treese’s car. Glossip’s prints were nowhere to be found, at least where it mattered. The $1,700 found in Sneed’s drawer had DNA evidence linking it to VT. Glossip’s money was not tied to the murder, and came from the proceeds of the sale of his personal belongings and from his paycheck, which was a verifiable fact.
They thought that $1,700 each accounted for the $4,000 mentioned by Sneed, but what did they think that Sneed did the week he was missing and hanging out under the bridge with his roofer friends? He was buying and doing drugs. So he had already spent most of the loot.
Did they ever find these guys to ask them what Justin did or said? No they did not because they had already made up their mind.
While Sneed went his merry way to a medium security prison, Glossip stayed incarcerated for almost two years in the county jail before his trial. He was denied bail because they said he was a flight risk. Where does a guy who has never been in trouble with the law and has no money supposed to flee? The camping aisle at Wal-Mart?
Bobby Glossip hired attorney Wayne Fournerat to defend his brother Richard because he had earned a small settlement for their sister in a simple civil matter. What a mistake it would turn out to be. To this day, I do not know if Fournerat was plainly incompetent, ill prepared, mentally ill or malicious, but he turned a very simple and winnable case into a disaster and single-handedly sent his client to death row; no ifs or buts about it.
The man was eventually disbarred and is now trying to inject himself on social media to ‘defend’ Richard Glossip. The problem is that each and every time someone asks him for transcripts, or a summary of the events, he is too lazy to even come up with anything. He keeps throwing his grain of salt in every debate, and if pushed for answers, tells his interlocutor that it is making his wife cry or starts speaking in tongues.
After trying to obtain details from Fournerat, I realized some of the dates he gave me about the case preceded the murder. I felt his client’s pain. To this day, he cannot lift a finger to do something constructive to help the man. The best thing he could do would be to stay away from everything Glossip and the abomination he created.
Mr. Fournerat was not happy about the way he was portrayed by the Wisconsin Law Review and filed a claim that was dismissed. Click here to read it.
Even if the prosecutor had it in for Glossip, it would have been easy to show the taped interview of Justin Sneed to the jurors to illustrate that his role as an accomplice was coerced. It is plain to see. His lawyer did not lay a proper foundation for the admission of the tape or other evidence. It should also have been a slam dunk to cross-examine Justin and show him for the twisted liar he had become. Detective Bob Bemo should also have been under fire for his interrogation tactics, but Fournerat did none of that.
He did not put any defense and did not challenge Everhart, Hooper or any of the other witnesses. The jury even asked about the taped interview, because they had questions. No answers were ever provided.
Cliff Everhart who was the principal witness against Glossip was an OIDS investigator and an employee of the state. The jury never knew he had a relationship to the defense system and the state of Oklahoma. How could he be an investigator for the state and be a reliable witness? Plus, he said he had a share in the motel that Van Treese had signed over to him on a napkin, but it was denied by Mrs. Van Treese.
In the case of Hooper, the bone of contention was that Glossip had told Van Treese not to rehire her after she took a sick leave and she held a grudge. Plus, he suspected that she took money by not recording the guests officially. Sneed even testified in court that it was him who told the maid not to clean room 102 and not Glossip as Hooper said.
Some people heard several voices in room 102 and what sounded like an argument; the client in the next room thought he heard a female voice, contrary to what Sneed had told the cops.
All elements that should have been brought up at trial.
The case is thrown out
In 2001, after two years on death row, the case of Richard Glossip was thrown out by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal appeals due to ineffective assistance of counsel.
You would think that it is time to rejoice when a verdict is not upheld, but when you have no money like Glossip and the system has already claimed you as his own and held you in his tentacles, it becomes harder to win than the first time around. The powers that be do not like losing and the public defenders are not the best option.
At first, Glossip was pretty confident because his appellate lawyer, G. Lynn Burch, was excellent and had laid out a strong foundation for the new trial that he intended to win. This time, they would play the interrogation tape and establish the facts:
- Even if they said that Van Treese was going to fire Glossip because some money was missing, it was never demonstrated in court because when asked for official receipts, the state said they were destroyed in a flood.
- Van Treese’s brother who took over the management of the motel, said that the sums missing were small and inconsequential. He also said Barry liked Glossip and the motel made profits. So there was no reason to fire Richard.
- Glossip had received his performance bonuses 11 months out of 12 during the last year, so how could he have stolen from the motel? He never had problems getting jobs and could have moved on any time to a new management position with less working hours.
- And killing the boss would not have meant keeping his job. On what planet is it a logical argument?
It was going to be easy to show that the crime was a robbery gone bad that did not involve Glossip. The only crime they could have held him accountable for if they really wanted to, was accessory after the fact.
- During the first trial, medical examiner, Dr. Chai Choi, said that Van Treese might have survived if Glossip had called the cops after Sneed notified him because he layed there bleeding for hours. A fact contradicted by the autopsy report that indicated no blood loss. According to forensic pathologist Michael Baden, Van Treese died within minutes, so it made no difference if Glossip spoke up or not.
But Mr. Justin Sneed came to the state’s rescue one more time when he said that Burch who had interviewed him before trial, had threatened him to make him change his testimony. The new prosecutor, Connie Smothermon, decided to add Sneed’s lawyer to the witness list to testify that her client was intimidated by Burch. This interview was not recorded and the allegations were strongly denied by Burch who had to recuse himself from the case.
Richard ended up with lawyers from the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System (OIDS) Silas Lyman and Wayne Woodyard, and in a sad case of déjà vu all over again, they failed once more to introduce Sneed’s interrogation and did not go after Bemo or anyone else. Instead, they seemed to help the prosecution.
Sneed had been coached properly and had stepped up his game to the hilt. This time around, Glossip became the mastermind who was pressuring poor Justin who was simply going along for the ride to help his master. He was now offered $10,000 to do the deed.
He also testified that he was instructed to cover the window with Plexiglass and to go fetch some trash bags and muriatic acid for the dead body. In this new scenario, Glossip had gone to room 102 and taken $100 from the pocket of Van Treese and told him to crank up the air conditioning. And he, the poor powerless boy, was asked several times to kill VT.
His testimony would have been easy to debunk because he testified that he had no idea that Richard had been arrested or that he was in police custody when he confessed. The interrogation transcript would have cleared this lie very easily. But Richard’s legal team were sleeping at the switch.
In 2004, Richard Glossip was found guilty a second time of the first degree murder of Barry Van Treese. The same mistakes were made in his second trial, but this time, the decision was upheld. Go figure.
This is what happens when the system conspires to keep you prisoner for a crime they basically pinned on you. They have invested too much in your conviction to let go and if you have no money, you are doomed. They will use every trick in the book to win.
Richard was even offered life in prison instead of the death penalty if he took a guilty plea. But he would not admit to a crime he did not commit.
Richard Glossip new legal team
Sitting on death row, Richard reached out to as many people as he could to claim his innocence and try to gather some support. He was finally heard and the media started publicizing his case and help started to trickle in. Sister Helen Préjean, Susan Sarandon, Richard Branson and many other public personalities believed in his innocence or at the very least, that there was a reasonable doubt. Dr. Phil produced a whole show on the subject.
Many people took notice and started reading the facts and scratching their head. How could he be on death row when the guy who brutally murdered Van Treese was a pathological liar held in a medium security prison? Something did not jive here.
At trial, the brutality of the murder was an aggravating factor, but they could never prove that Glossip was even in the room or remotely tied to this crime, except for the word of a brutal troubled teenager.
And if you watched the police interrogation, you know for a fact that Sneed lied after being pressured by the cops. He is at the very least, a very unreliable witness who keeps changing his story.
Don Knight, Kathleen Lord and Mark Olive formed his new legal defense team and took his case pro bono. They produced affidavits from a former inmate who heard Sneed brag about setting up Glossip and from a drug dealer who witnessed Sneed’s addiction and petty thefts. They established that the police interrogation techniques elicited a false confession, and that he was a thief addicted to meth as well as an admitted snitch.
- The psychiatric report of Justin Sneed also indicates that he mentioned a burglary and Glossip was never involved. Click here to read it.
- According to Dr. Pablo Steward, an expert in substance abuse, the crime committed by Sneed is consistent with a meth addict acting alone. He was treated with lithium at the time of his arrest. It is quite a contrast between the circumstances of Glossip who was clean and not in the habit of stealing or taking heavy drugs.
- Click here for a resume of the new evidence gathered by Glossip new legal team
Sneed’s own daughter wrote a letter on behalf of Richard to say that her father wanted to recant several times, and she believed Glossip to be an innocent man.
There is also a grey area that was not explored at trial or during the investigation. Barry Van Treese had $23,000 in cash in the trunk of his car that was recovered by the police. After his murder, his widow insisted that it was not theirs. In a report, the police thought it was marked as taken in a robbery.Click here to read the official document.
It should have raised a huge red flag, but it was not even admissible at trial. It sure sounds like it could be related to what Justin Sneed told his mother in a letter about this case involving important people she could not imagine.
Was it a case of murder for hire or a fender bender?
A pro-prosecution sounding reporter from the Frontier resurrected Justin Sneed in an epic interview where he sounded more coached than ever. She kept shoving words in his mouth and asking leading questions. He never denied having talked to his daughter about the case, but instead, said she was confused. In her letter, she said that she talked to her dad about the case for two years. No confusion there, but he was never put on the spot or asked the hard questions.
The interview sounded like a damage control exercise for the prosecution. He basically had answers to rebut the new defense elements and changed his story again. It was pretty obvious that he had been coached by his team because his vocabulary would suddenly go from street to sleek when he was giving out the ‘right’ answers.
In his revamped version, he kept saying that Glossip was on his ‘bumper’ about killing Van Treese. He would not leave him alone about it. Really on his ‘bumper.’ There was so much pleading that he was finally pushed over the edge and coerced.
If it was not so pathetic, it would be funny that he says that the cops made false promises, but he told the truth anyway. There was nothing false about giving him medium security and no death penalty for a brutal murder if in return, he implicated Glossip.
Even if he testified in court that Glossip did not own gloves, he now said that he wore gloves to cover his tracks in room 102. And now, the money did not come until the end, and after Sneed brought it to his room, Richard wanted half of it.
It is priceless when he says he thought it would be an average day or whatever.
He also says for the first time that to add pressure, Richard told him that his girlfriend D-Anna was pregnant.
He now emphasizes that Glossip told him to do it that night or he would be kicked out out of his room. Funny enough, he joined the roofing crew the day after the murder, but now says in the interview that he thought they had already left. Is this guy for real?
His mantra was that he was just a boy. I wonder if he was told that he might get a pardon one day if he sticks to his story and even up the ante with a few more juicy details
I guess this video should help the defense after all. Don Knight and Glossip’s other attorneys stated that Sneed’s interview strengthens their case.
4 delays of execution for Richard Glossip
So far, Richard Glossip’s execution was delayed 4 times. Enough to make any man go crazy or suffer from serious PTSD. Every time he is scheduled for execution, they move him to the isolation cell where they deprive him of all his belongings so that he has nothing else to think about, but his imminent death, which is a form of torture.
On September 16, 2015, he had received a brief reprieve issued by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.
On September 30, 2015, after the Supreme Court declined to stop Glossip’s execution, governor Fallin announced at the last minute, a 37-day stay of execution because of problems with the three-drug-cocktail they were using. Glossip had been sitting in his cell once again, waiting to be executed. Even Pope Francis had drawn a call for mercy earlier in the day.
Is that Midazolam in your pocket, or are you just happy to torture me?
As pharmaceutical companies started to refuse to provide the US with drugs used to kill other human beings, many states have had to ‘wing’ it.
Oklahoma was the first state to use pentobarbital in a three drug protocol in 2010. Their first use of a three-drug-protocol starting with midazolam was botched in 2014. An investigation revealed that they had used potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride in the execution of Charles Warner on 1/15/15.
In 2014, a state judge struck down Oklahoma’s lethal injection secrecy law, stating that it violated inmate’s right to due process. They had 5 different lethal injection cocktails, at the discretion of the Department of Corrections.
Oklahoma’s execution protocols have been under fire since they executed Clayton Lockett who regained consciousness and went through an agonizing death. The rest of the inmates were mad at Lockett for resisting and cutting his arms with a razor because it led to stricter measures on death row. They were all punished for it.
Glossip’s lawyers challenged one of the chemicals of the three drug cocktail, but ultimately lost the case. Click here to read about it.
When the governor announced that they had received potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride, I did not see this as a mistake. In my opinion, it was a case of fearing the consequences if Glossip’s execution went badly because of the public scrutiny surrounding the case.
According to the autopsy report. Oklahoma used potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride in Warner’s lethal injection, even if potassium chloride is the only protocol allowed.
They cannot mess with drug protocols because they have no chemist on board to make sure they have the right dosage or the desired effect.
A multicounty grand jury inquiry started in October 2015 into the execution drug mix-up. The director of Oklahoma department of Corrections, Robert Patton, has since resigned. One week after she testified, Warden Anita Trammel retired.
There is now an indefinite stay on all executions until they work out the problems and go back to business as usual. I hope that in the meantime, the US comes to its senses and scraps the death penalty.
As far as Richard Glossip goes, I pray he will be released someday, free to listen to music, work, feel the wind and be reunited with his loved ones. He has paid dearly for not being more forthcoming 18 years ago. No human being should have to go through the legal mess he had to endure. That Governor Mary Fallin can call this ‘having his day in court’ is appalling.
Richard gave instructions to his friends in case of his death, to spread his ashes on a beautiful lake while playing the song Free and Lonely from X Ambassadors.