Countdown to Wrongful Conviction Day: Friday, October 2, 2105; 19 days. For information: http://www.aidwyc.org/wcd-2015/
"Dear Governor Mary Fallin: We urge you to stay the execution of Richard Glossip so that deep concerns about his guilt can be addressed. On September 16, unless you act, the State of Oklahoma will put Mr. Glossip to death for the murder of Barry Van Treese. Justin Sneed—who by his own admission beat Van Tresse to death with a baseball bat—will not meet that fate. Why this stunning difference? Sneed testified at Glossip’s trial and said that Glossip persuaded him to do the killing. In return, Sneed was allowed to plead guilty and avoid a death sentence. Sneed’s testimony is the only evidence that connects Glossip to this horrendous crime. There’s no DNA evidence, no other forensic or physical evidence, no other witnesses. Just Sneed’s word. Did Sneed tell the truth? We don’t know, but we do know that he told many lies in this case because his story changed many times. When he was first questioned by detectives, Sneed said he didn’t know anything about the murder. Then he said he didn’t kill Mr. Van Treese. Then he admitted that he did but said it was an accident, he only meant to rob him and knock him out. Then, after the detectives told him that they didn’t believe he acted alone, that they had Glossip in custody, and that it would be better for him if he gave them another name, Sneed finally said that Richard Glossip got him to kill Barry Van Treese. After getting what they were looking for, the police assured Sneed that this story would help him avoid the death penalty. That last version led to a deal with the prosecution: Sneed—the admitted killer—testified against Glossip in exchange for a life sentence. As a result, Glossip faces death by lethal injection. Why would anybody trust this testimony, given by a man like Sneed under the circumstances in which he gave it? But if Sneed was lying about Glossip’s involvement —as he unquestionably lied in his various contradictory statements—then Oklahoma is about to execute an innocent man. The writers of this letter have a wide range of professional backgrounds and political perspectives. But we share a deep concern about the integrity of the criminal justice system in Oklahoma and throughout the United States. We are particularly concerned about the danger of executing an innocent man. Could that really happen? In the United States, in 2015? Yes, it could. It almost certainly has happened—the cases of Cameron Todd Willingham and Carlos Deluna in Texas are troubling examples—and it may well happen again, perhaps as soon as September 16."
See also: Sister Helen Prejean's personal plea to stop the education "Don't put to death an innocent man," published by CNN: "The jury in both trials also didn't get to see Sneed's taped confession, which for some reason wasn't shown in court. As the video clearly shows, the police made clear they didn't believe that Sneed was acting alone, before finally revealing that they had arrested Glossip. They went on to press Sneed on whether the "whole thing" was his idea.Another key point I'm sure the jury would like to have been aware of is that Sneed told others before the trial that when he killed van Treese, he was coming off a "two-day meth run." This would have added additional weight to Sneed's admission that he "hustled" to get money for drugs, and it would have presented a clear motive for robbing Van Treese. Finally, a worker at the motel testified that Glossip was manipulating the books, something that documents submitted after the conviction show wasn't the case. It appears that having no solid forensic evidence to corroborate Sneed's accusations, the prosecution had no choice but to show that Glossip had a compelling motive to have van Treese killed. The theory proffered was that Glossip stole from his boss and thus feared for his job if the truth came out. But there is also a sinister realm of unfairness in capital cases, where exculpatory evidence "goes missing." In this case, it was motel receipts that supposedly were lost in a flood. And there was the shower curtain and duct tape that Sneed claimed he and Glossip used to cover the motel window that was broken during the struggle. Had the curtain and tape been presented as evidence, the jury might have heard that they contained only Sneed's fingerprints, not Glossip's. Finally, the jury did not get to see the surveillance video from the Sinclair gas station across the street where Sneed went the night of the murder -- as did a man staying at the motel, who left in the early morning hours in such a rush that he left behind his luggage. Common sense would suggest this man should at least have been a suspect, but he was not identified nor questioned. There was so much that the jurors never knew. The fact that Richard Glossip is facing imminent death based on such flawed and threadbare evidence shows just how broken our court system is. And the case is also a betrayal of the constitutional ideal of fairness that we all cherish, and of a group of people summoned to pass life-or-death judgment. They will be forced to live with the question and possible doubt that they may have sentenced to death an innocent man."