OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An attorney for convicted murderer Richard Glossip believes potential new evidence could lead to his client’s innocence. The death row inmate’s legal team addressed a letter to Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater Thursday morning demanding access.
Glossip’s attorney, Don Knight, tells KFOR he believes there are problem areas in the case.
Glossip was sentenced to death for the 1997 murder of his boss, Barry Van Treese. A co-worker, Justin Sneed, admitted to beating the motel manager with a bat, but claims Glossip gave him money to kill their boss. Sneed was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
Glossip was convicted twice for the murder of Van Treese and has avoided death three times.
Glossip has maintained his innocence for over 20 years. The case was surrounded by controversy for an alleged lack of evidence for being based on the word of an admitted murderer.
With the possibility Oklahoma will resume executions in 2021, Glossip’s attorney is up against the clock.
“I am confident with what I have,” attorney Don Knight said. “I don’t know that Mr. Prater is. What is the purpose of hiding anything at this time?”
Don Knight claims radio silence is coming from Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater. Thursday, Knight addressed a 15-page letter outlining evidence he believes will help prove Glossip’s innocence.
One piece of evidence centers around an alleged flunked polygraph test.
In late 2014, Glossip was denied clemency. A prosecutor at the hearing referenced an alleged failed polygraph test taken by Glossip days after the murder.
Knight writes, “All requests made by previous defense attorneys for a copy were denied”.
“I would say there is a pretty big hole,” Knight said. “I guess you could say that’s a hole, or was there ever even a polygraph?”
Another piece of evidence Knight points out in the letter is “a videotape seized by police from a gas station across the street.” However, on the eve of Glossip’s first trial, Knight writes “an assistant DA didn’t believe it had any evidentiary value.”
“What’s on that video tape?” Knight asked. “I don’t know.”
State Rep. Kevin McDugle filed multiple bills this legislative session regarding the Glossip case, including HB 2219, HB 2220 and HB 1551.
HB 1551 would create a Criminal Investigative Unit (CIU) where an independent investigator would be assigned by the Governor or the Pardon and Parole Board to examine the case.
HB 2219 would allow the release of additional evidence to death row defense attorneys after a conviction.
“We should allow any attorney at any time to be able to come in and look at that evidence to see if there’s something they see that someone else didn’t see,” McDugle said. “Right now, our law doesn’t allow that to happen.”
However, due to Glossip’s double conviction, Prater isn’t forced to release anything. KFOR reached out to Prater by phone and has yet to receive a response. Knight says he hasn’t received a response as well.
“We are not saying to Mr. Prater, ‘You know, gee, let us rummage through your files and see if there is anything that would help us,’” Knight said. “We aren’t desperate. We have put together a really compelling case.”
The letter was also sent to Attorney General Mike Hunter. However, his press team tells KFOR they do not have any control over the alleged evidence.
The full letter sent to Prater appears below:
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