The Slatest

Execution of Possibly Innocent Oklahoma Man Can Go Forward Wednesday, Court Rules

Ryan Kiesel
Oklahoma ACLU executive director Ryan Kiesel speaks on Sept. 15, 2015, in Oklahoma City to demonstrators protesting Richard Glossip’s scheduled execution.

Photo by Nick Oxford/Reuters

The execution of an Oklahoma man named Richard Glossip whose guilt has been questioned by a wide and politically diverse range of observers can go forward on Wednesday, the state’s highest appeals court ruled Monday in a “deeply divided” decision denying his request for a hearing. The court had previously stayed Glossip’s scheduled execution on Sept. 16 while it considered his case. His lawyers say they will now appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. From the New York Times:

The evidence cited by lawyers for the man, Richard E. Glossip, “merely builds upon evidence previously presented to the court,” Judge David B. Lewis wrote for the three-judge majority of the Court of Criminal Appeals that denied a hearing. “Any further request for a stay of execution is also denied.”

But two judges dissented, writing that the evidence against Mr. Glossip, 52, was weak.

Glossip was convicted of plotting a 1997 murder based largely on the testimony of Justin Sneed, who has admitted to carrying out the killing. Substantial evidence indicates that Sneed is an unreliable witness who was coached to testify against Glossip.

Robert J. Smith wrote Monday in Slate that Glossip’s potential execution is only one of three morally questionable death penalty sentences that may be carried out this week, also citing the cases of Georgia’s Kelly Gissendaner (who since her conviction has become a minister who has helped rehabilitate a number of other women) and Virginia’s Alfredo Prieto (who has spent seven years in solitary confinement and has a very low IQ).