Tuesday, January 20, 2015

an execution in Oklahoma

Richard Glossip was sentenced to death by the State of Oklahoma for the murder of Barry Van Treese and is scheduled for execution on January 29th. It would seem, on the basis of the facts available in the public domain, that this man is very likely innocent; at the very least the evidence against him is so weak that this should never have been a death penalty case.

There is no physical evidence linking him with the crime; his conviction is based solely on the statement of Justin Sneed, the man who admits the killing, that he was paid to do so by Richard. Sneed initially insisted to police he had acted alone and only later implicated Richard in exchange for a plea bargain that spared him the death penalty. Richard has always maintained his innocence - in fact, he refused a plea deal that would have spared his life because it would have required him to admit the crime - and his claim is supported by the Sneed's daughter who says her father confessed to her that he implicated Richard so that he could make a deal and save himself and that Richard had no involvement in the crime.

I believe the death penalty is wrong; but it is particularly heinous in a case like this where the evidence is so questionable. Sister Helen Prejean (famously portrayed by Susan Sarandon in the film 'Dead Man Walking') has joined to fight to save Richard's life and has also become his spiritual adviser. Others who would like to help can do so by signing the on-line petition here pleading with Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to spare Richard's life.

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