A new execution date has been set for death row inmate Richard Glossip after Oklahoma’s Court of Criminal Appeals agreed to slow down the pace of the state’s upcoming executions.

Glossip’s execution had been set for February 16, but the court rescheduled it for May 18 in an order issued Tuesday.

This is the ninth time that Glossip has been scheduled to be executed since 2014. In September 2015, he was just hours away from being executed when prison officials realized they had received the wrong lethal drug. That mix-up helped prompt a nearly seven-year moratorium on the death penalty in Oklahoma, which ended in October 2021.

Glossip’s new execution date comes after Oklahoma’s new attorney general, Gentner Drummond, asked the court to allow at least 60 days between executions, arguing that carrying out an execution a month was “unsustainable.” Last year, the court set execution dates for 25 inmates spaced about a month apart into 2024.

Richard Glossip
Richard Glossip’s execution has been rescheduled for May 18, the ninth execution date he has faced since 2014 in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Glossip’s attorney, Don Knight, welcomed the court’s ruling but said his client is an innocent man who should not be executed.

“We deeply appreciate the efforts of Attorney General Drummond to recognize that the current pace of executions is unsustainable,” Knight told Newsweek in a statement.

“While we are thankful for today’s ruling from the [Court of Criminal Appeals] to reset Richard Glossip’s execution date, this does not change the fact that an innocent man is still on death row and facing execution,” Knight said.

Glossip was sentenced to death for the 1997 killing of motel owner Barry Van Treese.

An independent investigation by Texas law firm Reed Smith raised concerns about lost or destroyed evidence, Knight pointed out, adding that a detective asked leading questions to Glossip’s co-defendant, Justin Sneed, to implicate Glossip in the slaying.

Sneed admitted killing Van Treese but said he did so at Glossip’s direction. He was sentenced to life in prison and was a key witness against Glossip.

“Rich’s conviction of murder for hire has been found by the international law firm Reed Smith to be unsupportable,” Knight said. “We look forward to using the time we now have to work with the state to fully investigate Rich’s wrongful conviction. We know that no one in Oklahoma wants to execute an innocent man.”

Glossip’s attorneys have asked the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals for a new evidentiary hearing in light of the investigation’s findings.

More than 60 state lawmakers, including many who support the death penalty, have called for a new evidentiary hearing in Glossip’s case.

newsweek