Press Release: 28 Republican Lawmakers Urge Review of Oklahoma Death Penalty Case

June 14, 2021


June 14, 2021


28 Republican Lawmakers Urge Review of Oklahoma Death Penalty Case


Predominantly Republican Bi-Partisan Group of Oklahoma State Legislators Sign Letter to Governor and Pardon and Parole Board, Calling for Investigation Into New Evidence in Case of Death Row Inmate Richard Glossip



  • Noah Finneburgh, National Media Consultant:; (510) 289-0908
  • Andrew Speno, Oklahoma Media Consultant:; (405) 315-5924


Media Availability:

  • Don Knight, Lead Attorney for Richard Glossip
  • State Rep. Kevin McDugle (R-Broken Arrow)
  • State Rep. Justin Humphrey (R-Lane), Chair of Public Safety Committee 


(Oklahoma City, OK)—A bi-partisan group of 34 Oklahoma lawmakers, led by 28 Republicans, signed a letter to Governor Kevin Stitt and the State Pardon and Parole Board calling for an independent investigation into the case of death row inmate Richard Glossip. New evidence from 29 witnesses and experts casts serious doubt on the integrity of Glossip’s conviction. The case has taken on a new urgency as executions in Oklahoma could resume within the next few months. 


House and Senate members will hold a news conference voicing support for the investigation in the press room on the ground floor of the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City this Wednesday, June 16, at 3pm Central time. The press conference will be streamed live on the State House Facebook page:


A copy of the legislative letter, a partial list of signers, and a 1 page summary on the case is attached with this release. 


Richard Glossip, 58, has one of the most controversial capital cases in America. He has been on Oklahoma’s death row since 1998, even though another man, Justin Sneed, confessed to the murder of motel owner Barry Van Treese at the Best Budget Inn in Oklahoma City in 1997. Glossip’s conviction was based primarily on statements made by Sneed that he was hired by Glossip to kill Van Treese. There was no DNA, no fingerprints, and no eyewitnesses implicating Glossip. It was just the admitted killer’s story against Glossip’s. And Sneed’s story changed on key points at least eight times. 


During the course of Glossip’s case, prosecutors have destroyed evidence, intimidated and even arrested witnesses. Even today, they continue to withhold important documents requested by the defense that could help set Glossip free. 


Last Wednesday, a largely Republican group of 16 state legislators traveled to the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester to learn more about the case. While there, some of the representatives met with Glossip on Oklahoma’s underground death row. One of the lawmakers who met with Glossip and has signed the letter calling for an investigation into his case, Rep. Justin Humphrey (R-Lane), has 30 years of law enforcement experience and is also Chair of the House Public Safety Committee. 


Rep. Humphrey said: “I support the death penalty but only if we know for certain that the person is guilty of the crime. Before we stick a poison needle in Rich Glossip’s arm, I believe qualified people need to take a look at the new evidence and his whole case. Rich’s lawyers showed us everything they have and let us ask any questions we wanted. If the prosecutors are confident in their case then they need to lay their cards on the table and let us take a look. That’s all we’re asking.”


State Representative Kevin McDugle (R-Broken Arrow), lead author of the letter, agreed. “Twenty-nine new witnesses and experts have signed sworn affidavits and are ready to testify that there are serious problems with various aspects of the prosecution’s case,” McDugle said. “Some of these witnesses tell us Sneed framed Rich Glossip in order to avoid the death penalty himself. It looks very possible that an innocent man has been on death row for more than two decades. We urge the Governor and Pardon and Parole Board to allow for a thorough investigation into this entire case. Oklahoma cannot be in the business of killing innocent people.”


Richard Glossip, who had no prior criminal history, currently sits in a tiny cell on death row with another execution date soon to be set. He has been served his last meal three different times and has been given three last-minute stays of execution. Meanwhile Sneed, the undisputed perpetrator of this heinous murder, is currently serving life in what is considered to be the best-run and most comfortable medium-security prison in Oklahoma. 


New evidence uncovered by Glossip’s legal team establishes that the killing was a botched robbery carried out by Sneed and a female accomplice, and that Glossip was never involved. 


More information about Glossip’s case, and the growing effort to urge Governor Kevin Stitt and the State Pardon and Parole Board to order a thorough and independent investigation into this case, can be found at