Death Penalty

Posting late today…In the Meantime, Another Man Comes Forward About OK’s Death Row Inmate, Richard Glossip

Our main stories will appear a little later today, so check back.

But, until then: There is some new information about Oklahoma death row inmate, Richard Glossip’s case, that further suggests that Glossip may be innocent.

If you’ll remember, Richard Glossip was granted a stay of execution last Wednesday, a few hours before he was scheduled to be put to death.

How close was it? Gossip was given his last meal before the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals issued a temporary stay of execution in order to give “fair consideration” to new evidence.

Glossip is still scheduled to die by lethal injection in a week.

In the past few days, however, a new witness has emerged to add to the doubt about Glossip’s guilt. Liliana Segura, writing for the Intercept, has the details. Here’s a clip from her story:

Joseph Tapley didn’t want his name in the press. He had worked too hard, since leaving prison in 2002, to get his life on track. Today he owns a business and has a wife and kids. The last thing he wanted when he sat down to watch TV on the evening of September 15 was to get dragged into anything that might bring him or his family any harm.

But then he saw the report on the 6 o’clock news: the state of Oklahoma was ready to kill Richard Glossip. Governor Mary Fallin had rejected his plea for a 60-day stay. His execution was scheduled for 3 p.m. the next day.

Tapley knew the name. More than that, he knew the man responsible for sending Glossip to his death: Tapley’s onetime cellmate, Justin Sneed. The two had met at the Oklahoma County Jail in 1997. At the time, neither had reached his 20th birthday. Sneed had been arrested after using a baseball bat to kill a man named Barry Van Treese, the owner of the Best Budget Inn, a seedy motel in Oklahoma City, where he worked as a maintenance man. Sneed would later escape the death penalty after implicating Glossip, his supervisor, testifying that he offered him several thousand dollars to kill on his behalf. Glossip says this was a lie. While he admitted that Sneed had told him he killed Van Treese on the morning of January 7, 1997 — and that he initially withheld what he knew from police — Glossip insisted that he had nothing to do with the murder.

As he watched the news segment, Tapley felt certain that Sneed had framed Glossip. His story did not match what he remembered Sneed saying about the crime in 1997. Tapley wasn’t alone. In August, after Glossip’s case was featured on Dr. Phil, a man named Michael Scott came forward to say that he had spent time in prison with Sneed, who talked openly about his crime. “Among all the inmates, it was common knowledge that Justin Sneed lied and sold Richard Glossip up the river,” Scott said. Yet the execution was to proceed as scheduled, on September 16.

That night, Tapley Googled “attorney for Richard Glossip” and found a number for Don Knight, a Colorado-based lawyer and part of the legal team fighting to save Gossip’s life. Tapley dialed and left a message for Knight:

“This is Joe. I was in a cell with Justin Sneed in 1997 in Oklahoma County Jail for 5 or 6 months. He told me all about his case. I think I might be able to help you…..”

Read on.

Leave a Comment