Everyone who meets Richard Glossip believes he’s innocent. Even five wardens who keep a close eye on the man in his death row cell boldly refuse to have anything to do with his execution. As for the media, Susan Sarandon and Sister Helen Prejean, whom Sarandon played in the film Dead Man Walking, have both taken up Glossip’s case, believing not only that the death penalty is inhumane but that it is especially so because they are so convinced of Glossip’s innocence. However, despite the celebrity push for a stay in his execution, the state of Oklahoma plans to go ahead with the lethal injection planned for Glossip in two week’s time.
The way it goes on Death Row is that the prisoner’s cell inches closer and closer to the death chamber as the execution nears. Glossip’s cell is terrifying close to where he will take his last breath, and calmly he’s been planning everything, from his last words to his last meal.
At exactly 5 pm before he’s strapped in for a lethal injection, Richard Glossip will sit down to a meal of pizza, fish and chips and a double thick strawberry milkshake. He tells the journalist from the Mirror (who also believes Glossip is innocent) that he’d considered requesting lobster, oysters or filet steak but his mind kept going back to pizza and fish and chips. As unimportant as a meal may sound when facing death, it’s this detail Glossip has had 17 years to consider.
This 52-year-old has been on death row since 1998. He was convicted of ordering the murder of his boss, Barry Van Treese, based only on the sole testimony of the actual murderer, Justin Sneed, the handyman at the hotel where they both worked. In order to plead down a death sentence Sneed implicated Glossip, claiming he was ordered to conduct the murder by Glossip. Sneed sits in a medium security prison today, while Glossip’s life is about to be taken from him.
Meanwhile, all of Glossip’s basic humans privileges have been taken away from him, including his freedom to listen to music. He lives under the glare of fluorescent lights, which are on 24 hours a day. He wraps a towel around his head to try to get a few hours of sleep in a night.
In the in-depth Mirror interview, Glossip tells the reporter:
“I do want to live, do not get me wrong, but if the worse should happen though I am ready to die to prevent this from happening to another innocent person. It is just crazy for this to be happening in this country but if I have to do my part to stop this again I will. I am not afraid to die but if I do, in my heart and my head I know I was taken from this earth for something I had no part in. I have no anger in me. I always think you will not be punished for your anger but you will punished by it.”
What’s most frustrating for those championing Glossip’s innocence is that Sneed never mentioned Glossip in his initial three interrogations about why he beat Van Treese to death. He only brought in Glossip’s name after learning he could plead down his charges if he blamed it on someone else. Also, it’s clear from an appeal made to stay Glossip’s execution that his attorneys did a terrible job of making this inconsistency clear in order to bring a “shadow of a doubt” to clear Glossip of the murder. They did not thoroughly cross examine Sneed, especially not about the inconsistencies in his ‘admission.’
As for Glossip, he’s been given the chance to commute his death sentence to a life sentence by admitting guilt two time, but he’s staunchly refused to admit guilt to a crime he insists he had no part in. Glossip has no criminal record, not even a parking ticket. But none of this has convinced Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to stay the execution.
“When I am on the table I really would like Governor Fallin and all the people who put me here to witness my execution,” says Glossip. “I’d look at them and say ‘Look innocence in the eyes before you murder it’ — that way my blood ends up on their hands. That’s what I want my last words to be. No man should die for a crime they didn’t commit.”
If you would like to read more about Richard Glossip’s case or add your signature in support go to www.richardeglossip.com. You may be able to save his life.