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Oklahoma AG seeks clemency for nearly 3-time death row man

Oklahoma’s new Attorney General Gentner Drummond plans to ask the state’s Board of Pardons and Paroles on Wednesday to recommend that death row inmate Richard Glossip be spared, a highly unusual move for the state’s top prosecutor’s office, which typically urges the board to reject clemency. Glossip was nearly executed three times, including once when he was just feet away from the state’s death chamber.

In a letter Monday to the five-member board and obtained by CBS News, Drummond wrote that he had serious concerns about the fairness of Glossip’s trial and noted that two independent reviews of the case should have given Glossip a new trial.

“I am not aware that an Oklahoma attorney general has ever supported a clemency petition for a death row inmate,” Drummond wrote. “In every prior case that has come before this board, the State has maintained full confidence in the integrity of the convictions. It is not only in this case because of material evidence that was not disclosed to the jury.”

Death Row Marriage Oklahoma

Richard Glossip is seen in this Feb. 19, 2021, photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

(Oklahoma Department of Corrections via AP)

Drummond previously asked the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to uphold Glossip’s conviction, saying in a court filing that although the state was not proposing Glossip was innocent, there were numerous concerns about his trial, including that a key witness against Glossip lied to the jury. His psychiatric treatment and mood-stabilizing medication led to his taking lithium. But the court rejected that request last month, paving the way for Glossip to be executed on May 18.

“New evidence recently released by the office shows that the prosecution’s main witness against Mr. Glossip was not entirely truthful in his testimony,” Drummond wrote.

Glossip’s attorney, Don Knight, did not immediately return a message left at his office after hours.

Glossip, now 60, was convicted in 1997 of the murder-for-hire of his boss, motel owner Barry Van Treese, in two separate trials based largely on the testimony of his co-defendant, Justin Sneed. Snead admitted to robbing and killing Van Treese, but claimed he did so only after Glossip agreed to pay him $10,000. Sneed was sentenced to life in prison.

The five-member Pardon and Parole Board is expected to consider Glossip’s clemency recommendation on Wednesday. If a majority of the board recommends clemency, it will be up to Gov. Kevin Stitt to decide whether to carry out the death penalty or commute Glossip’s sentence to life in prison.

“In order to have faith in our criminal justice system, it is incumbent upon me as the state’s chief law enforcement officer not to ignore evidence and information wherever they may be,” Drummond wrote in Monday’s letter.

It’s only been a few hours since the three executions, including Glossip Once in September 2015 That’s when prison officials realized they had gotten the wrong lethal drug, a mixture that helped lead to a nearly seven-year moratorium on executions in Oklahoma.

Last year, the anti-death penalty lawyer Dr Leah married Roger Glossip Inside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

“For Rich, having survived three execution attempts, possibly facing a fourth, one thing he really took away from it: don’t take anything for granted … really live in the moment,” Roger told The Associated Press before their wedding in Oklahoma. In a small ceremony inside the State Penitentiary.

Death Row Marriage Oklahoma

Lea Rodger, 32, poses for a photo on March 28, 2022, in McAlester, Okla., the day before she married Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Glossip at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

Sean Murphy/AP

In 2021, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt Saved lives Of a prisoner under sentence of death Julius Jones Just hours before his scheduled execution.

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