The Slatest

Conservative Oklahoma Governor Stays Richard Glossip’s Execution in Surprise Move

Mary Fallin
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin at a press conference in Washington on Jan. 15, 2014.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Oklahoma inmate Richard Glossip has received a last-minute stay of execution from Gov. Mary Fallin, who said in a statement that the state’s department of corrections needs more time to prepare for his lethal injection:

Screen shot/State of Oklahoma


Glossip, who many observers (including Republican former Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn) believe may be innocent, had appeals rejected in recent days by the state’s highest appeals court and the U.S. Supreme Court in his attempts to delay the execution.

Glossip was also the named plaintiff in a case that came before the Supreme Court earlier this year in which he argued that the cocktail of lethal-injection drugs used in Oklahoma could cause great pain during his execution and thus constitute cruel and unusual punishment. The court ruled 5-4 against Glossip.

The Supreme Court case, however, revolved around the sedative midazolam; Fallin’s stated concern is over the third drug in the state’s three-drug cocktail. Potassium chloride is what’s usually used to kill prisoners, but the state has obtained potassium acetate instead. (Lethal-injection drugs can be hard to obtain because many drugmakers now decline to supply them.)

Fallin, a strong supporter of the death penalty, had previously said she would not intervene in Glossip’s case.