On Wednesday, Richard Glossip will face execution by the state of Oklahoma despite mounting evidence pointing to his innocence. Glossip was found guilty of hiring his subordinate, Justin Sneed, to murder his boss, Barry Van Treese, during the winter of 1997. No physical evidence connected Glossip to the murder—all hearings and charges were based on Sneed’s testimony. Sneed cut a deal with the state to testify against Glossip, who had no criminal record, in exchange for a life sentence.

The Intercept recently reported that a man named Michael Scott served time in a cell across from Sneed and overheard him boasting about framing Glossip. The report prompted Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, who had been vying for Glossip’s execution, to go to great lengths to track down Scott and interrogate him.

From The Intercept :

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater demanded to speak to Scott, even contacting his mother, while dismissing the new evidence as part of a “bullshit PR campaign” by anti-death penalty activists.

Scott repeatedly refused to speak to Prater. He was not a state’s witness or on trial himself. Nor did Scott owe Prater anything in his failure to abide by the terms of his suspended sentence; Scott’s arrest took place in Rogers County, two hours from Oklahoma City. Yet as Scott sat at the police station last Tuesday, it was Prater who entered the interrogation room. As Scott later described it, Prater made it clear that he had orchestrated his arrest. Now he would be forced to talk to him.

Scott’s account is contained in a filing by Glossip’s attorneys, who accused Prater of blatant witness intimidation. Scott told them that he was interrogated about his affidavit and that the questions “seemed designed to confuse or trick” him into contradicting himself. Scott said he did not wish to speak to Prater and the investigator who accompanied him — a man by the name of Eastbrook — without a lawyer, but he also did not feel free to refuse their questions. In fact, having heard reports about people dying in police custody, Scott said, he feared he even might be harmed. According to Scott, Prater and the investigator “even asked him questions about prescription medication that his mother is taking,” which Scott says they could only know about had they conducted a search of their house.

It wasn’t just Scott who was apparently targeted: A second man who came forward with similar information on the eve of Glossip’s last scheduled execution, Joseph Tapley, also found himself vulnerable to arrest when the Oklahoma County district attorney’s office moved to revoke his suspended sentence for a DUI, the same day his affidavit was filed, according to FOX 25 in Oklahoma City. Although it is unclear whether Tapley met with Prater, that deal has since been restored.

Read more here.

Justin Sneed’s daughter, O’Ryan Justine Sneed, believes that Glossip is innocent, based on conversations she’s had with her father. She has disclosed that her father considered recanting his original story but is afraid of the consequences if he does.

Despite this, and despite a petition that has garnered over 240,000 signatures to block Glossip’s execution, Prater seems set to have Glossip take his last breath on Wednesday.

Read also: An Oklahoma Man Awaits a ‘Cruel and Unusual’ Execution by Bill Blum.

— Posted by Donald Kaufman.


If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.