Republican Oklahoma Representative Says Death Row Inmate Innocent

Self-described death penalty supporter Rep. Kevin McDugle said he believes a death row inmate is innocent following the release of a report done by a Houston law firm

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A Republican state representative in Oklahoma who is a self-described death penalty supporter said Wednesday that a report done by a Houston law firm investigating death row inmate Richard Glossip proves him completely innocent.

"We've got an individual sitting on death row that's been there 25 years and I believe he's totally innocent," said Rep. Kevin McDugle.

McDugle called for a new appeals court hearing based on the investigation performed by Houston law firm Reed Smith.

Don Knight, Glossip's attorney said the report shows his client's innocence.

"In the coming days, Mr. Glossip's defense team will file a request for a hearing with the Oklahoma Court of Appeals so this new evidence of innocence can be examined in a court of law," Knight said in a statement.

The firm reported lost or destroyed evidence and a biased detective who improperly asked leading questions to co-defendant Justin Sneed to implicate Glossip in the murder of motel owner Barry Van Treese, said attorney Stan Perry.

"Our conclusion is that no reasonable juror, hearing the complete record, and the uncovered facts, would have convicted Richard Glossip of capital murder," Perry said.

The evidence included financial records believed to have been destroyed in 1999 or 2000. The records could have disproved the prosecution's theory that Glossip wanted Van Treese killed to hide his alleged embezzlement from the motel where he was a manager.

The report goes on to state that "this loss or destruction cast[s] serious doubt as to the fundamental fairness of the criminal trial against Glossip."

The report finds the most likely case to be solitary robbery committed by Sneed who pocketed an estimated $2,800 from Van Treese in order to fuel a drug addiction.

Sneed, the motel handyman, is currently serving life in prison after pleading guilty to murdering Van Treese with a baseball in his Oklahoma City motel in 1997.

Sneed testified that he only killed Van Treese because Glossip promised him $10,000 to commit the crime.

The investigation was sought by 34 Oklahoma representatives, 28 of them Republicans, led by McDugle.

"If we put Richard Glossip to death, I will fight in this state to abolish the death penalty, simply because the process is not pure," McDugle said.

Glossip, 59, has maintained his innocence. He was twice convicted and sentenced to die for the killing of Van Treese.

Knight, Glossip's attorney, does not believe that the state should pursue a date in light of the report. In 2015, Glossip was hours away from his execution when prison officials realized they had the wrong drug.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, who took office after Glossip's second trial ended said Wednesday that he was still reviewing the report and declined comment.

However, Prater has previously stated that after reviewing all evidence, he remains sure of Glossip's guilt. Prater has said that he would retry Glossip for first-degree murder and seek the death penalty again.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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