In 1998, Richard Glossip, a motel manager, was convicted of hiring the motel’s handyman, Justin Sneed, to murder Barry Van Treese, the motel owner.
Sneed used a baseball bat to beat Van Treese to death and is serving life in prison with no chance of parole. The primary evidence in the conviction of Richard Glossip was Sneed’s testimony that Glossip hired him. Glossip has maintained his innocence throughout the entire process.
Glossip was originally scheduled to be executed on January 29, but the Supreme Court issued a stay so that it could consider whether the use of the drug midazolam violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishments.
Midazolam is used to render a person unconscious before other drugs are administered. It was used in the execution of Clayton Lockett, whose April 2014 execution was botched. In Glossip v. Gross, the Supreme Court ruled 5–4 against Glossip and two other petitioners.
Glossip’s case has attracted support from British businessman Richard Branson, actress Susan Sarandon and death-penalty opponent Helen Prejean of Dead Man Walking fame. Prejean collected 260,000 signatures for Governor Fallin to grant a temporary sixty day stay for Glossip. Fallin’s office has indicated she has no intention of granting a stay.