Death Penalty

Oklahoma appeals court stays execution of Richard Glossip

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The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeal on Wednesday stayed the scheduled execution of Richard Glossip—who was at the center of a lethal-injection case before the U.S. Supreme Court—with barely three hours to spare.

The court said it granted the last-minute reprieve in order to “give fair consideration” to death row inmate Richard Eugene Glossip’s claim that his lawyers have uncovered new evidence of his innocence, the Associated Press reports.

Glossip, 52, was twice convicted of ordering the killing of the owner of an Oklahoma City motel where he worked. Prosecutors said Glossip was afraid he was about to be fired for embezzling money and mismanaging the motel.

Motel handyman Justin Sneed admitted robbing and beating the motel owner with a baseball bat but said he did so only because Glossip had promised to pay him $10,000.

Glossip’s lawyers said Wednesday they had obtained a signed affidavit from inmate Michael Scott, who claimed he overheard Sneed say he had set Glossip up and that Glossip “didn’t do anything.”

Glossip’s lawyers also said Glossip’s trial lawyers hadn’t done enough to discredit Sneed, presenting an affidavit from a methamphetamine dealer who said he saw Sneed using the drug and trading stolen goods for it.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said he was confident the court wouldn’t find any evidence to overturn Glossip’s conviction and sentence.

The appeals court rescheduled Glossip’s execution for Sept. 30.

In the Supreme Court case Glossip v. Gross, Glossip and other Oklahoma defendants had asked the court to determine whether the use of midazolam in lethal injections is unconstitutional. The court ruled 5-4 in June that the inmates failed to establish that the use of the drug violates the Eighth Amendment.

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