READ: Glossip attys send Fallin a letter

Posted at 5:01 PM, Sep 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-29 18:01:46-04

Less than 48 hours before Richard Glossip is scheduled to be executed, his attorneys sent a letter on his behalf to Governor Mary Fallin. 

RELATED: Death row inmate Richard Glossip's lawyers appeal to high court

Read the entire letter below: 

Dear Governor Mary Fallin

On behalf of Mr. Richard Glossip who is scheduled to be executed September 30, 2015, we again respectfully request that you invoke your Constitutional authority to grant a sixty (60) day reprieve.  Article 6, § 10 of the Constitution of Oklahoma.  We previously requested that you grant such a reprieve for the purposes of allowing Mr. Glossip’s pro bono legal team more time to complete the re-investigation of this case.  Along with that request, we tendered some of the newly discovered evidence that we had uncovered.  You denied that request, insisting that the proper forum for the presentation of our newly discovered evidence that Mr. Glossip is actually innocent should be in the courts.

Following your decision, on September 15, 2015, we filed our Petition with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA).  In that petition, we presented the Court with the newly discovered evidence that we tendered to you.  Based upon the evidence presented, the OCCA granted a two week stay so as to give the justices enough time to review the evidence.

During that stay, and after Mr. Glossip would have been killed had the stay not been granted, even more evidence of innocence arose which included, most significantly, an affidavit from Joseph Tapley (attached) and an interview with Justin Sneed.  Sadly, this last, and very strong proof of Mr. Glossip’s innocence, was discovered so late that its filing with the OCCA occurred too late for it to be considered.  However, this confirmed what we had stated in our previous letter to you; if we are given more time, we will uncover more evidence of Mr. Glossip’s innocence in this case.  This fact remains true today, and the investigation will continue, even should Mr. Glossip be executed on September 30.  He is innocent, and this case is far too important to the issue of the use of the death penalty as a whole, to stop with this execution.

On September 28, 2015, the OCCA issued its ruling.  In a deeply divided decision, three members voted to deny Mr. Glossip’s Subsequent Application for Post-Conviction Relief, Motion for Evidentiary Hearing, Motion for Discovery, and Emergency Request for a Stay of Execution. The basis for the denial by the three members was mostly on procedural grounds.  However, citing substantive claims of real innocence, two of the justices voted to grant Mr. Glossip a hearing.

In her dissent, Presiding Judge Clancy Smith expressed continuing doubt about Mr. Sneed’s statements of Mr. Glossip’s guilt.  She felt that the “tenuous evidence in this case is questionable at best if Sneed has, in fact, recanted.”  Judge Smith wrote that “the state has no interest in executing an actually innocent man” and therefore urged that a 60 day stay be granted, along with an evidentiary hearing, so that this newly discovered evidence could be presented in a court of law.

Likewise, Judge Arlene Johnson wrote that the denial by the three members of the OCCA to grant Mr. Glossip the relief he seeks “further calls into doubt the fairness of the proceeding and the reliability of the result.”  She continued that she would “grant Mr. Glossip’s request for an evidentiary hearing to investigate his claim of actual innocence because those who face ‘that most severe sanction must have a fair opportunity to show that the Constitution prohibits their execution.’”

As stated above, these two judges wrote of their fears that the state is about to execute an innocent man despite the fact that they had not even had the chance to consider the statements made in Mr. Sneed’s recent interview.  We attach hereto a Request for Reconsideration that we filed earlier today, along with the transcript of Mr. Sneed’s interview.

Governor Fallin, it is imperative that you read carefully the statements that Mr. Sneed’s makes in this interview.  Once you do, you will be left with simply no doubt that it will be a horrific mistake to execute Richard Glossip based upon the words of Mr. Sneed.

Mr. Sneed’s interview is perhaps the last piece of the puzzle proving what really happened at the Best Budget Inn on January 7, 1997.  The first piece of the puzzle was the arrival of Mr. Sneed at the Best Budget Inn in July of 1996.  At that time, he was a young man working a tough job with the expressed desire to make money and send it to his daughter back in Texas.  He had made her a promise that she would have a better life.  He confirmed this, all these many years later, in the last page of this recent interview.

However, as our investigation has uncovered, Mr. Sneed soon fell into chronic and severe drug addiction.  As is usually the case with drug addicts, he quit his job and began to steal money and property.  He stole from motel rooms and cars of those who visited the Best Budget Inn in order to support his addiction.  After all, contrary to the statements he made in his recent interview, we all know that drugs are not free.  There was no “allotment” of methamphetamine given to the Best Budget Inn as Mr. Sneed states in the interview.  He needed money or property to buy his drugs, and he stated to Detectives Bemo and Cook that he entered Barry Van Treese’s room in an attempt to steal his keys in order to take money from his car that was parked just outside.  This was a simple burglary gone horribly wrong and, in a meth-induced frenzy, as he admitted to Bemo and Cook, he beat Mr. Van Treese to death with a baseball bat.  The haphazard attempts to cover-up the crime simply confirm the fact that there was no planning that went into the commission of this murder.

In this September 21, 2015 interview, Mr. Sneed confirms that when he talked with Detectives Bemo and Cook, and where he first blamed Mr. Glossip for this crime, he feels that he may have still been under the influence of methamphetamine. Furthermore, in a newly released document that had previously been under seal, and that was not included in the packet that we submitted to you, Dr. Edith King examined Mr. Sneed for competency within six months of the date of this crime.  We attach that competency evaluation here for your consideration.

Of all the newly discovered evidence presented, this puzzle piece may be the most significant.  After all, while the state calls into question the veracity of the defense witness who, like Sneed himself, all have criminal records, Dr. King is unimpeachable.  In this evaluation, Mr. Sneed confirms that he was, at the time of this homicide, a young man over his head in drug use.  He had a history of breaking into dwellings, and had serious issues with anger and violence as a child.  He admitted to Dr. King that the murder happened as a result of a burglary and, by omission that he acted alone.

This last fact was confirmed by the new affidavit of Joe Tapley that was only very recently uncovered by the defense.  Mr. Tapley spent months with Mr. Sneed in jail at the very same time that Dr. King wrote her report, and talked with him at length about the crime.  Mr. Sneed admitted that he did this for the money and never mentioned Mr. Glossip or that he was coerced into doing the crime by his boss. In the September 21 interview, Sneed blames all of his crimes at that time on the influence of others.  It is simply not logical that, if it were true that he was coerced by Mr. Glossip into committing this crime, that he would have withheld such information from both Dr. King and Mr. Tapley.  The fact is that he did not tell them about Mr. Glossip because Mr. Glossip simply was not involved.  That fact has never been clearer than it is now.

The other significant piece of the puzzle came from Michael Scott, a former inmate who did time with Mr. Sneed at Joseph Harp in 2006.  This was after the second trial.  Mr. Scott is prepared to testify that he overheard Mr. Sneed bragging and laughing about how he falsely testified that Mr. Glossip was involved simply to save himself for the death penalty.  This fact is confirmed by the statements made to Crystal Martinez by Mr. Sneed’s daughter, O’Ryan Sneed, that her father falsely testified and has expressed a desire to recant.  This lingering doubt was cited by Justice Smith in her dissent.

This brings us to the present, and to the lengthy interview that Mr. Sneed gave to press just in the past week.  No one can read this transcript, or watch the interview on You Tube and hear the actual words of Mr. Sneed, without coming away with the conclusion that Mr. Sneed is simply incapable of telling any truth at all.  Even 17 years later, he still has no coherent story of how and why the murder of Mr. Van Treese happened.  In fact, based upon the standards set by the Attorney General for how Mr. Glossip’s witnesses should be judged, Mr. Sneed is clearly an “inherently suspect” witness, and his statements cannot be relied upon to kill another man.  As stated, that was true then, and based upon his very recent incoherent statements to the press, it remains true today.

Governor Fallin, we write you today to request one final time that you grant Mr. Glossip a 60 day stay for the purpose of giving us time to ask for a new clemency hearing before the Pardon and Parole Board.  At this hearing we will submit to the members of the Board all of the newly discovered and newly unsealed evidence that was not available to the members last year when the Board had previously denied clemency to Mr. Glossip.  We strongly believe that the Board should have the chance to consider this evidence of innocence before any execution is allowed to proceed.  This will not be a time for Mr. Glossip to confess that he committed this crime and seek mercy.  Instead, the members of the Pardon and Parole Board will be asked to consider this newly discovered evidence and decide whether, in this case, with this defendant and this lack of clear and convincing evidence of guilt, it will be morally wrong to conduct this execution.

Mr. Glossip had no prior felony history before he was convicted of this crime.  Unlike Mr. Sneed who has two prison “convictions” for assault, Mr. Glossip has no charges of any kind over the past 17 years that he has been incarcerated.  We now know that there is significant doubt about his guilt.

Governor Fallin, this is the wrong man, and the wrong case to carry out an execution.  We know from the outpouring of support that we have seen and from the massive publicity that this case has generated, that the entire world is now watching.  They have passed their verdict in this case and that verdict is not guilty.  The world is now watching to see if the state of Oklahoma is actually going to execute an innocent man.  The three justices who voted to deny relief to Richard on procedural grounds may rest easy that they did this based mostly upon the legal principle of “finality of judgement.”  However, it is now clear that the “judgement” made by the jury was so flawed that it is now not to be believed.  Executing Richard Glossip will not change this fact.

We implore you to exercise your constitutional authority to grant a stay of 60 days.  Give us the chance to present this evidence to the Pardon and Parole Board.  Give the State the chance to challenge that evidence in an open forum.  If it is not enough to sway a majority of those members, as it has two OCCA judges, then the execution can go forward.  However, if we are successful, and more than three members of that Board rule in favor of granting clemency, then you will have the chance to end this nightmare for Mr. Glossip, and the State of Oklahoma, and grant him clemency.  This will not set him free, but it will free the State from the permanent stain that will be caused by the execution of an innocent man.

We are continuing our efforts in the OCCA and with the United States Supreme Court.  However, these filings do not prohibit you from granting this stay.  Please consider this evidence that we submit with this request today, and grant a stay of execution for 60 days so that we can make the request for a full hearing with the Pardon and Parole Board.  Mr. Glossip’s execution will be final in 24 hours.  It cannot be undone.  Oklahoma deserves a chance to stop this from happening.

Thank you for your consideration.  We look forward to hearing from you very soon.

 LEARN MORE: Richard Glossip case throughout the years

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