• Press Release

Oklahoma Issues Two-Week Stay of Execution for Richard Glossip

September 16, 2015

A state appeals court has granted a two-week stay of execution in the case of Richard Glossip, who was scheduled to be executed this afternoon.

The stay was granted to allow the court to consider a filing for an evidentiary hearing by Glossip’s legal team.

“We’re relieved that the court has delayed today’s execution in order to explore every possible avenue of justice in this case, but Richard’s life is still on the line,” said Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “Justice is never served when the state puts its prisoners to death. Amnesty International USA calls for this execution to be halted as a violation of Mr. Glossip's human rights and encourages the U.S. government to abolish the death penalty for all.”

Glossip was sentenced to death in 1998 for the murder of Barry Van Treese, whose body was found in one of the rooms of the motel he owned in Oklahoma City. At the trial, Justin Sneed, who worked as a maintenance man in return for a free room in the motel, confessed to killing the victim but said that Glossip had asked him to do it. Sneed testified against Glossip in order to avoid the death penalty and is serving a life sentence.

Since 2007, seven states have abolished the death penalty, bringing the total number to 19. Another six states have not conducted an execution in a decade or more. Last year only 7 states conducted executions, with Oklahoma ranking fourth. Since 1973, there have been 155 exonerations of death row inmates, including 10 from Oklahoma.

Amnesty International documents the use of the death penalty around the world and has shown a steady global trend away from executions. 140 countries have abolished the death penalty worldwide and only 22 carried out executions in 2014.