The report was commissioned by a legislative committee of 34 state lawmakers — including 28 Republicans — expressing concern over the case against Glossip, a motel manager convicted of murder in the 1997 death of his boss, Barry Van Treese.
“The investigative report confirmed in my mind that we have an innocent man on death row,” Republican state Rep. and committee member Kevin McDugle said at a press conference Wednesday. .
Prosecutors in the Glossip case admitted that another motel employee, then 19-year-old Justin Sneed, a maintenance worker, physically killed Van Treese with a baseball bat, but they told jurors that Sneed had done so as part of a murder-for-hire scheme orchestrated by Glossip.
Sneed was sentenced to life in a plea deal for his testimony against Glossip, which the new report says was the only evidence linking Glossip to the crime.
“We actually know who the murderer is, and yet someone is on death row who is not the murderer,” Perry said.
The first trial against Glossip was dismissed due to ineffective defense counsel, and Reed Smith’s investigation revealed that prosecutors told police to destroy a box of evidence before the start of the second court case. “It’s inexcusable,” Perry said.
Rep. McDugle said Wednesday he was a supporter of the death penalty, but said the Glossip case shows weaknesses in the reliability of capital prosecutions.
“If we put Richard Glossip to death, I will fight in this state to abolish the death penalty simply because the process is not pure,” he said.
The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office and Connie Smothermon, the first lead prosecutor in the Glossip case, did not immediately respond to CNN’s requests for comment Wednesday. The new report says O’Connor’s office failed to respond to requests from independent investigators for access to records and evidence in the state’s possession.