OK Rep. McDugle alleges impropriety in Glossip’s clemency denial; AG asks SCOTUS to vacate Glossip’s conviction


Oklahoma Rep. Kevin McDugle, leader of the effort to free Richard Glossip, alleged last week that the District Attorney’s Council and Pardon and Parole Board decided to deny Glossip’s clemency application before his April 26 hearing had even been held.

In an interview with Fox 25, McDugle said that one of the DAs admitted there had been prior communication after the rest of the Council and Pardon and Parole Board members denied it. That person provided evidence, McDugle alleged. “It implicated several folks who had already lied to us . . . we do have proof that some of that stuff was going on,” he said.

McDugle’s allegation comes on the heels of an announcement Attorney General Gentner Drummond made earlier this month that he had filed a brief supporting Glossip’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to vacate his 1997 capital murder conviction and return his case to a district court for a retrial.

In his announcement, Drummond pointed to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals’ denial of Glossip’s appeal for post-conviction relief as his motivation. “Despite the State’s extraordinary admission of error in Glossip’s trial, the [OCCA] in April rejected the inmate’s application for post-conviction relief. . . . After careful consideration – including a thorough review by an independent counsel – the State came to the conclusion that …ensuring that justice is done in this case requires a retrial.”

Glossip was sentenced to death in 1997, convicted of engineering the murder of Barry Van Treese, the owner of an Oklahoma motel where Glossip worked. The actual killer was Justin Sneed, a motel maintenance worker who admitted to beating Van Treese to death with a baseball bat. But Sneed claimed Glossip was the mastermind of the murder and had offered him $10,000 to kill Van Treese. Sneed was sentenced to life without parole. Glossip has always maintained his innocence.

At the request of state legislators, an investigation conducted by the law firm Reed Smith released a full report in June 2022, that concluded that Glossip’s “2004 trial cannot be relied on to support a murder-for-hire conviction.” Reed Smith supplemented that report with five additional reports revealing more exculpatory evidence that had been withheld by the state.

The mounting evidence of Glossip’s innocence, combined with the support of the legislators, many of them Republicans and death penalty supporters, helped to convince Drummond that Glossip may have been wrongly convicted.

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