LISTEN: Glossip’s legal team and Rep. McDugle interview key witness no jury has heard from
Richard Glossip was arrested on the word of admitted killer Justin Sneed. But Sneed bragged about the real story when he was in county jail. Hear the firsthand account of the true story from Paul Melton. Paul Melton was serving time for petty crimes and spent 10 months in prison with Justin Sneed. He has come forward now because he knows an innocent man may be put to death.
Here, Melton describes what Sneed told him of the lure-and-rob scheme Sneed and his girlfriend used more than once. These details are corroborated with evidence from the crime scene, and from other witnesses who also knew of Sneed’s girlfriend and their plans to get drug money.
MR. MELTON: This is what he told murder. Look. He — him and his brother went there, and they had a job with a roofing company, right?
Well, so then he meets the girl. And then his brother — you know, they both, from what he said originally, the idea about robbing the owner originally come from both of them together, because they were staying there. And then he started — once they let him go off the roofing company, he started working there.
And so they thought the owner, him and his brother did. But then his brother — I don’t know, flaked out on him, I guess, because he’s pissed about his brother. He was. And his brother just left him there.
So anyhow, him and the girl come up to the plot. I said, “Look, if this guy’s giving her a thousand dollars, $2,000 every time he comes and he sees her, then why are you — why do you want to rob him for? That’s standing money? Why would you do that?”
And his point was she was getting the thousand dollars and $2,000 every time. He wasn’t. And he was only getting to get high with her. And so he wanted the cash his-self.
And the robbery went down because he thought — he went ahead and did it because the owner was going to fire him and the manager was going to let him go and get him off the property, he thought.
And so him and that girl come up with the plan. And it wasn’t the first one they robbed. They robbed, like, three other people. And one of them was married. And it almost went down the same way as what happened to the owner of the motel. But the girl started telling the guy, “Hey, you want your wife to find out? Do you want your wife to find out?” And the guy stopped. The guy — he persisted. And if you all could find that guy, I guarantee you he knows all of this too. But that happened prior to killing the owner of the motel.
Look, he started out by breaking into cars. And he would steal stuff out of cars, and he would trade it to the dope dealer for dope. So that’s what was getting him by. Then he went to rooms twice, he said, prior to starting with the girl, because they did three in total.
He got the — the owner of the motel was the third one that they did like that, with him sneaking in the room. She would get them in the room. And then she had a deal about her showering. And she’d get them in the shower. And then once they get in the shower, he’d come in the room and take off with the stuff.
But then what happened was the first — the second time, the married guy, that happened, and it scared him. So the third one was the owner of the motel. The first one, they got away with it. So they did two other people that way and got away with it. But one of them, they put the guy on blast and told him she did. “You want your wife to find out? You want your wife to find out?”
And so then when the murder happened, I guess she lured the guy, because they knew there was a deposit — he was going to have a deposit from that motel and that motel. And he knew there would be 20 to 30 grand that he would be getting, if not more, he said. And so she got him to come. I guess he come — he couldn’t believe that he’d actually come. And then I’m like, “Well, why did you kill the guy? You know? Why didn’t you just knock him out?” He said, “Well, that’s what I was going to do, but the guy started fighting.” And I guess they tore the room up. Broke the window. And, you know, they have — this is a capital murder, guys.
Melton recounts what Sneed told him about the murder of Barry Van Treese, and that Sneed’s girlfriend was in the room with him when it happened.
MR. MELTON: He was methed out. And he was with a methed-out girl. And she’s just as guilty as he is because he — he didn’t plan to kill the guy. He didn’t plan to kill the guy. But he did. So because he did, she is just as guilty as he is, even though he’s the one that actually killed him, you know.
MR. McDUGLE: Was she still in the room with him when he murdered him? Or do you know?
MR. MELTON: Yes. Yes. Oh, yes. Yes, she was in the room. She flipped out. She ran into the bathroom. And the window broke. He broke the window. The guy fought so hard. That guy, I just wished he could have fought a little harder because he probably would have been alive.
Sneed told Melton on multiple occasions that Glossip had nothing to do with the murder. Now, Melton is coming forward to save an innocent life from being executed for Sneed’s crimes.
MR. MELTON: And for me to have a clean conscience, I’ve got to do the right thing. You know my background. I wouldn’t be on this phone if I didn’t know 1 million percent that man had nothing to do with this.
Melton describes the firsthand account when he saw Sneed return from talking to Detective Bemo. Sneed knew he would face the death penalty, but Bemo was so focused on Glossip, he already had his mind made up that Glossip committed the crime. Sneed was surprised and willingly implicated Glossip to save his own life.
MR. MELTON: When that detective told him he had that guy under arrest, he thought they were bull crapping him. Then the detective led him right into, “This is the only way you’re going to live, buddy.” And he tried some other stories, and it went flying.
That detective — gentlemen, that detective had his mind made up about the manager, this whole concocted bull crap, before he even walked into the interview room with Justin Sneed the first time. You know that? Justin told me that.
Justin told me that detective had his mind made up. It was more than obvious. And Justin done thought he won the lottery. He just committed a murder, and he knows he’s facing the death penalty. Now he’s got the detective telling him he won’t get the death penalty. Alls he’s got to do is, okay, and alls he did was sit back and the detective walked him through the whole thing, guys
WATCH: Independent Investigation Press Conference Led By Rep. Kevin McDugle
Reed Smith LLP released their full independent investigation into Richard Glossip’s case, and the evidence is clear – Richard is innocent.
Watch Republican State Representative Kevin McDugle’s press conference about the release of the investigation:
Independent investigation uncovers new evidence of Richard Glossip’s innocence
Findings from the Reed Smith investigation show that “the 2004 trial and all of its failures can neither be relied on to support a murder for hire conviction nor as a basis for the government to take the life of Richard E. Glossip.”
At the request of Oklahoma State Sen. Blake Stephens (R), Sen. David Bullard (R), Rep. Kevin McDugle (R), Rep. JJ Humphrey (R), and Rep. Garry Mize (R), Reed Smith assembled a pro bono team of over 30 attorneys, three investigators and two paralegals who spent more than 3,000 hours combined on this investigation. The team reviewed over 146,000 pages in 12,234 separate documents; contacted 72 police and civilian witnesses, 11 jurors, and two experts; interviewed 37 witnesses (police and civilian) and seven jurors, two experts, several members of the media with knowledge of the case; and conducted a 3.5-hour interview of Richard Glossip in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.
Reed Smith has offered new evidence to contradict, one by one, the findings presented to the jury, evidence that jurors said they “wish they’d seen” and that almost certainly would have resulted in a not-guilty vote.
That evidence includes:
- The jury did not see the videotaped interrogation of Justin Sneed, which clearly shows the detectives contaminating that interrogation by mentioning Glossip’s name six times in twenty minutes and de facto procured Sneed’s implication of Glossip by laying out a rhetorical “connect-the-dots” blueprint by which Sneed could confess, point a finger at Glossip, and save his own life. “Since Sneed’s testimony was the sole evidence that Glossip planned the murder and hired Sneed to carry it out, Glossip’s conviction appears to be significantly tainted.”
- The jury never saw evidence of Justin Sneed’s drug use, criminal and violent history, or testimony from witnesses describing his “meth rages.
- The jury never saw or heard evidence that would have established that so-called witnesses for the prosecution like disgraced former law enforcement official Cliff Everhart lacked credibility altogether and indeed may have interfered with or impeded a proper police investigation, as well as perpetrated crimes related to the murder themselves.
- The jury received incorrect jury instructions that allowed them to set aside as optional the need to find corroborating evidence to find Richard Glossip guilty. One juror said “the jury instructions were very persuasive.”
- The jury never saw significant evidence of Sneed’s motives for conducting this assault on his own – that he needed money – including to support his illegal drug habit, that he knew Mr. Van Treese carried cash and/or kept cash in his car, and that he was upset with Mr. Van Treese for not paying him for his work at the motel and was experiencing the after-effects of taking methamphetamines right before the crime.
According to the Reed Smith report, “If the jury had been presented with the full picture of Sneed’s true character, we believe they would have had no problem concluding he was capable of committing this crime on his own, whether it was a robbery gone bad or an intentional killing.”
A SERIOUS CRIME – A VERY NON-SERIOUS INVESTIGATION
1. The police did not look for any witnesses to this crime.
- All five witnesses the police interviewed from the BBI came to the police. They did not canvass the hotel for any other witnesses.
- No attempt to talk with anyone at the strip club.
- No attempt to talk with drug dealers or prostitutes who frequented the BBI.
- No attempt to search for Sneed while he was on the run.
- No attempt to contact Sneed’s family to look for him or learn anything about him.
- No attempt to find out who Sneed’s friends or acquaintances were at the BBI or at Brassfield roofing.
- No attempt to confirm John Prittie’s statement that he thought he heard a woman’s voice in the room.
2. The police chose not to interview witnesses who were obviously a part of the investigation.
- Donna Van Treese
- Cliff Everhart
- Michael Pursley (husband of Kayla, also resident of BBI)
- Marty Bender
- Derrick Van Treese
- Cpl. Harold Wells
- Kenneth Van Treese
- Wes Taylor
- David McWaters
- Mark Brassfield (employer of Sneed, turned him in)
- David Jackson (worked and lived with Sneed after murder)
- Kimberly Jackson (lived with Sneed after murder)
- Russell Paul O’Neal (worked and lived with Sneed after murder)
- Other employees of Brassfield who worked with and knew Sneed (like Jamie Spann)
- Any other guest at the BBI on the night of the murder
3. The police simply ignored witnesses who did come forward.
- Kim Hooper
- Gary Portnall
- Fred McFadden (asked to talk with the DA, it appears he did, no report)
4. No attempt to determine where Van Treese was during the night of January 6 into the early morning hours of January 7.
- His movements and Pike Pass toll records record hours of unaccounted for time. The presence of suspicious money in the trunk of his car hint at his involvement in illegal activities. Who was Barry Van Treese?
5. No attempt to verify how much money Van Treese may have left the BBI with on January 6.
- Hooper and Everhart pegged it on January 7 as less that $3,000. There is no evidence that the police looked for any evidence to confirm or deny that figure.
6. The police made no attempt to gather evidence at the scene.
- No attempt to seal Sneed’s room and search for and collect evidence in the room.
- No attempt to collect financial data at the BBI.
- No attempt to gather documentation of who was staying at the BBI at the time of the murder and who may have had eye or ear witness accounts.
- No attempt to determine if the van with the broken window next to the car had anything to do with this crime.
- No attempt to inventory and photograph the contents of Van Treese’s car to determine if anything had evidentiary value.
- No attempt to photograph all the suspicious $23,100 found in the trunk of the car, some of which had blue dye on it.
- No attempt to trace the money with blue dye on it to determine where that apparently stolen money came from.
7. When the police did collect evidence, they quickly disposed of it.
- They confiscated Van Treese’s car, but returned it to the family within a few days, with the contents still in it, giving the defense no chance to investigate that part of the crime scene.
- They turned the $23,100 cash, even the bills contaminated with blue dye, over to the family within a few days, making no attempt to determine if this money had evidentiary value, and giving the defense no opportunity to examine it in Rich’s defense.
8. When evidence was collected, it was lost by the police or the DA.
- The Sinclair video tape.
- The supposed lie detector test questions and results.
9. When evidence was hand delivered to the parties in court, the District Attorney refused to take possession of it, and it was lost thereafter.
- Donna Van Treese brought a box of financial documents concerning the BBI to court in the first trial at the request of Rich’s lawyer. There is nothing to show that the DA asked for these documents, thought they were relevant to anything about the case, or ever bothered to look at any of it. No copies of the documents were ever made and, after she testified, the prosecutor simply allowed DVT to take these documents home, where they were purportedly lost in a flood prior to trial #2.
10. When evidence was collected and held, it was not fully inventoried to determine what value it might have had to the case.
- A white box of unidentified documents, one roll of duct tape, one bag with duct tape, one envelope with note, one bag with glasses, one bag with wallet, “knifes” (plural), keys, white shower curtain, one deposit book, two receipt books were all taken into evidence and held until after the first trial. Other than taking some fingerprints off the duct tape and shower curtain, there is nothing to show that the police ever made any attempt to determine what, if any, evidentiary value there was to any of these items taken from the crime scene.
- Barry Van Treese was stabbed. Was there blood or fingerprints on these “knifes”? Where did they come from?
- Where did the shower curtain come from?
- What did the deposit books show?
- What do the receipt books show?
- What were the papers in the “white box with papers?
- What was in the wallet?
- What was on the note in the envelope?
- Whose glasses?
- Whose keys?
11. When evidence was collected and held, the police or district attorney deliberately destroyed it prior to the second trial, before the defense had a chance to see it.
- Before anyone could answer any questions about what evidentiary value there was to anything in this box of evidence, the DA’s office ordered it to be destroyed, without following any normal process for doing so. Why did this evidence need to be destroyed while the case was still on appeal? What were they trying to hide?