It's exceedingly rare for the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in scheduled executions, but that's exactly what it did Friday for one Oklahoma death row inmate.
Inmate Richard Glossip received the break of his lifetime, at least for now, as SCOTUS decided to take up two petitions that challenge his murder conviction, according to The Post Millennial.
Glossip was sentenced to death for his role in the 1997 murder of motel owner Barry Van Treese.
His execution date was scheduled for May 18.
It was due to Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond's (R) intervention that Glossip might have a new outlook on life.
The Oklahoma AG issued a shocking statement in which he proclaimed that new evidence, thanks to an independent investigation, shed new light on Glossip's conviction.
"After thorough and serious deliberation, I have concluded that I cannot stand behind the murder conviction and death sentence of Richard Glossip," Drummond said in the statement.
He added: "This is not to say I believe he is innocent. However, it is critical that Oklahomans have absolute faith that the death penalty is administered fairly and with certainty."
STATEMENT ON THE STAY OF EXECUTION FOR RICHARD GLOSSIP:
I’m so heartened to know that Oklahoma will not kill an innocent man on May 18th. pic.twitter.com/BnlvOcce0o
— Sister Helen Prejean (@helenprejean) May 6, 2023
The outlet added:
On April 20, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed Drummond's request and upheld Glossip's conviction. In a last ditch effort, the appeal went before the High Court.
In 1998, Glossip was found guilty of first-degree murder in the 1997 killing of Barry Van Treese, the owner of a Best Budget Inn in Oklahoma City. Van Treese was beaten to death by Justin Sneed, a maintenance worker at the motel, who confessed that Richard Glossip, a manager at the time, hired him to carry out the killing.
Glossip's attorney, Don Knight, released a statement praising the high court for taking up the two petitions, which effectively stayed his client's execution.
"We are very grateful to the US Supreme Court for doing the right thing in stopping Richard Glossip's unlawful execution," Knight said.
He added: "There is nothing more harrowing than the thought of executing a man who the state now admits has never received a fair trial. Thankfully, for the time being, Mr. Glossip is out of peril."
Only time will tell what happens to Glossip, but if there's enough evidence to convince the governor, and possibly the high court, that he shouldn't be on death row, then it's important to take that into consideration and get all the facts possible.