Dozens of Oklahoma lawmakers call for independent investigation into Richard Glossip case

Dozens of Oklahoma lawmakers on Wednesday issued calls for an independent investigation into the Richard Glossip case.Glossip has been on death row since the late 1990s after he was convicted of paying another man to kill his boss. His execution was put on hold several years ago when the state almost used the wrong drug.Glossip’s attorney, Don Knight, spoke for more than half an hour Wednesday, discussing some of the evidence for why he says Glossip is innocent. State Rep. Kevin McDugle, who sent a letter to Gov. Kevin Stitt and the Pardon and Parole Board that was signed by 34 legislators on both sides of the aisle, also joined Glossip’s attorney.Knight and McDugle have requested a third-party investigation into the case. This is significant because McDugle is a longtime supporter of the death penalty in Oklahoma.McDugle said he thinks Glossip is innocent, however, after Glossip’s case came across his desk and after learning about the facts and new evidence.”I can tell you from a political standpoint there is nothing to gain when you get involved in something like this, and the only reason I’m here is because I do believe, personally, that we have an innocent man on death row,” said McDugle, R-Broken Arrow.”We did a thorough investigation on this case,” Knight added. “We interviewed more than 190 people in this case. We consulted more than 15 expert witnesses, forensic pathologists, serologists, forensic accountants, polygraph experts, FBI and crime scene experts.”Glossip has already exhausted his appeals and was denied clemency before. However, Knight said because of the delays in the case, the pardon and parole board will hear Glossip’s clemency petition once an execution date is set.The board would still have to recommend clemency, then the governor would have the final say. The attorney general’s office and the Oklahoma County district attorney have released statements. You can read them below. Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office”Richard Glossip had two trials. A total of 24 jurors unanimously chose the sentence of death. His case has exhausted both state and federal appeals, including denial by the U.S. Supreme Court. “Additionally, Glossip has been denied a clemency recommendation by a unanimous vote of the Pardon and Parole Board. “In 2015, in his last appeal to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, Glossip raised claims that involved allegations of actual innocence. The Court reviewed each claim and found “Glossip has presented no credible evidence.”Judge Robert Hudson, in his concurring opinion in Glossip’s case said, ‘his court’s rules and cases do not impede the raising of actual innocence claims at any stage of an appeal.’ And this is still the proper forum for presentation for any alleged new evidence. “Glossip had his day in court. Two juries of his peers have spoken. “Our thoughts remain with the family of Mr. Barry Van Treese, the victim of this horrendous murder.” Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater”We are a nation of laws. We must strictly adhere to the rule of law and the process of the administration of those laws. The law and the legal process assure that allegations and claimed information have some indicia of reliability and truthfulness.”I rely on the legal process to sanitize the venomous accusations made against me. I am confident that the rule of law will again rule the day and none of the falsehoods and lies will survive.”It is concerning to me that the Legislators who have signed the letter to the governor and the Pardon and Parole Board, many of whom are attorneys, have never attempted to contact me about the Glossip case. They have made no inquiry about any of the claims made by the killer’s lawyers or supporters. They have not requested transcripts of court proceedings, appellate briefs or anything else. The killer has exercised and exhausted every constitutional and statutory right as he has gone through the trial process and both the state and federal appellate process. Every court has reviewed his claims and have denied him any relief.”Ironically, the very people who have signed this letter work in a legislative system that operates in a black hole. These Oklahoma Legislators have even exempted themselves from the Oklahoma Open Records and Open Meetings act. They operate behind closed doors within a process designed to evade public scrutiny. I challenge the signors of this letter to allow the same scrutiny of themselves and their legislative process as the law provides for the court system and me.”Finally, maybe it is time for these legislators to have an honest and sincere debate about the death penalty in Oklahoma. Do we have a death penalty in Oklahoma or do we not? The citizens of Oklahoma have overwhelmingly supported the death penalty as judged by a recently balloted state question. Why are the legislators playing games through political theater like this press conference and letter today? Stop avoiding the difficult discussions and stop lying to the families of murdered victims!”

Dozens of Oklahoma lawmakers on Wednesday issued calls for an independent investigation into the Richard Glossip case.

Glossip has been on death row since the late 1990s after he was convicted of paying another man to kill his boss. His execution was put on hold several years ago when the state almost used the wrong drug.

Glossip’s attorney, Don Knight, spoke for more than half an hour Wednesday, discussing some of the evidence for why he says Glossip is innocent. State Rep. Kevin McDugle, who sent a letter to Gov. Kevin Stitt and the Pardon and Parole Board that was signed by 34 legislators on both sides of the aisle, also joined Glossip’s attorney.

Knight and McDugle have requested a third-party investigation into the case. This is significant because McDugle is a longtime supporter of the death penalty in Oklahoma.

McDugle said he thinks Glossip is innocent, however, after Glossip’s case came across his desk and after learning about the facts and new evidence.

“I can tell you from a political standpoint there is nothing to gain when you get involved in something like this, and the only reason I’m here is because I do believe, personally, that we have an innocent man on death row,” said McDugle, R-Broken Arrow.

“We did a thorough investigation on this case,” Knight added. “We interviewed more than 190 people in this case. We consulted more than 15 expert witnesses, forensic pathologists, serologists, forensic accountants, polygraph experts, FBI and crime scene experts.”

Glossip has already exhausted his appeals and was denied clemency before. However, Knight said because of the delays in the case, the pardon and parole board will hear Glossip’s clemency petition once an execution date is set.

The board would still have to recommend clemency, then the governor would have the final say.

The attorney general’s office and the Oklahoma County district attorney have released statements. You can read them below.

Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office

“Richard Glossip had two trials. A total of 24 jurors unanimously chose the sentence of death. His case has exhausted both state and federal appeals, including denial by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Additionally, Glossip has been denied a clemency recommendation by a unanimous vote of the Pardon and Parole Board.

“In 2015, in his last appeal to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, Glossip raised claims that involved allegations of actual innocence. The Court reviewed each claim and found “Glossip has presented no credible evidence.

“Judge Robert Hudson, in his concurring opinion in Glossip’s case said, ‘his court’s rules and cases do not impede the raising of actual innocence claims at any stage of an appeal.’ And this is still the proper forum for presentation for any alleged new evidence.

“Glossip had his day in court. Two juries of his peers have spoken.

“Our thoughts remain with the family of Mr. Barry Van Treese, the victim of this horrendous murder.”

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater

“We are a nation of laws. We must strictly adhere to the rule of law and the process of the administration of those laws. The law and the legal process assure that allegations and claimed information have some indicia of reliability and truthfulness.

“I rely on the legal process to sanitize the venomous accusations made against me. I am confident that the rule of law will again rule the day and none of the falsehoods and lies will survive.

“It is concerning to me that the Legislators who have signed the letter to the governor and the Pardon and Parole Board, many of whom are attorneys, have never attempted to contact me about the Glossip case. They have made no inquiry about any of the claims made by the killer’s lawyers or supporters. They have not requested transcripts of court proceedings, appellate briefs or anything else. The killer has exercised and exhausted every constitutional and statutory right as he has gone through the trial process and both the state and federal appellate process. Every court has reviewed his claims and have denied him any relief.

“Ironically, the very people who have signed this letter work in a legislative system that operates in a black hole. These Oklahoma Legislators have even exempted themselves from the Oklahoma Open Records and Open Meetings act. They operate behind closed doors within a process designed to evade public scrutiny. I challenge the signors of this letter to allow the same scrutiny of themselves and their legislative process as the law provides for the court system and me.

“Finally, maybe it is time for these legislators to have an honest and sincere debate about the death penalty in Oklahoma. Do we have a death penalty in Oklahoma or do we not? The citizens of Oklahoma have overwhelmingly supported the death penalty as judged by a recently balloted state question. Why are the legislators playing games through political theater like this press conference and letter today? Stop avoiding the difficult discussions and stop lying to the families of murdered victims!”