Execution dates planned for 6 death row inmates in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals Friday set execution dates for six inmates on death row, just hours before a lawyer filed for a review in one case.

Performance dates for James Coddington, Richard Glossip, Benjamin Cole, Richard Fairchild, John Hanson and Scott Eizember were scheduled, beginning August 25 with Coddington and followed September 22 with Glossip.

Glossip, whose first conviction and death sentence was quashed, was hours away from his September 2015 execution after a second conviction and death sentence when prison officials realized they had been given the wrong deadly drug

It was learned later the same wrong drug had previously been used to execute a prisoner, and executions in the state were suspended.

Executions in Oklahoma resumed in October with John Grant, who convulsed on the stretcher and vomited before being pronounced dead.

Glossip’s attorney, Don Knight, filed a new hearing later Friday based on a… investigation by a law firm in Houston that states that Glossip is innocent.

The report from the law firm Reed Smith alleges evidence was lost or destroyed, and a detective falsely asked co-defendant Justin Sneed leading questions to implicate Glossip in the murder of Barry Van Treese, the owner of the Oklahoma City motel where Glossip worked.

Sneed, the motel handyman, is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to beating Van Treese to death with a baseball bat in a room at the motel in 1997. Sneed testified that he killed Van Treese, but only after Glossip, the motel manager, promised to pay him $10,000 to commit the crime.

“The facts and evidence that we now know in this case prove that Richard Glossip is an innocent man,” Knight said. “We urge the State of Oklahoma to grant this request for a post-conviction waiver based on the plethora of new evidence that has never before been reviewed by a judge or jury.”

Knight also asked the court to lift Glossip’s execution date until a decision is made on his request for a new hearing.

“We implore the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to suspend Richard Glossip’s execution date until this new information can be fully considered,” Knight said.

The motion alleges plaintiff’s misconduct, insufficient and inappropriate evidence, ineffective counsel, improper jury instructions and that the judge failed to sequester the jury in the Glossip’s case.

Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor the appeals court asked in June to set execution dates for 25 inmates on death row after a federal judge rejection of their challenge to the state’s lethal injection method.

The dates are each about a month apart. Glossip’s planned execution was to be followed by those of convicted murderers Benjamin Cole, Richard Fairchild, John Hanson and Scott Eizember.

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