Richard Glossip v. the Death Machine

August 20, 2021

When you’re executed in Oklahoma, the process begins 35 days before your death, according to inmate Richard Glossip. First, they take your belongings, then they transfer you to a block of four cells called Death Watch. If you’re the only one on the block, they put you in the first cell, where you’ll stay for a week. Then they’ll move you one cell over, and so on until you’re closest to the execution chamber. There’s a camera and a guard for each cell, bright lights are on day and night, and the only thing you’re allowed to bring is a Bible, family photos, and a pen and paper. Some days, there’s nothing; others, you’ll watch as another inmate goes off to die.

Glossip has found himself on Death Watch three times over the last 25 years. He’s had three last meals, the same four items every time: fish and chips, a Wendy’s Baconator, a strawberry shake, and pizza — Pizza Hut once, Dominos twice. He’s listened as two men have been put to death, botched lethal injections both. And, as soon as early next year, he could be there again, in that endless daylight cell, waiting for death — if his lawyer can’t secure him another hearing, the last Hail Mary.

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