An Oklahoma lawmaker said Wednesday that if the state executes death row inmate Richard Glossip, he will fight to end the death penalty in the state.

State Rep. Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow, said he believes Glossip is innocent during Wednesday's press conference over results from an independent investigation that an Oklahoma legislative committee requested in February.

“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,” McDugle said. "If we’re going to put people to death, we have to make sure we have a pure process and that the people that are being put to death are deserving.”

“I believe we have an innocent man on death row,” he added.

Glossip was convicted and sentenced to death for commissioning the 1997 death of Barry Van Treese. He was scheduled to die on Sept. 30, 2015, when then-Governor Mary Fallin issued a last minute stay after learning the state did not have the correct drugs before executions were put on pause before resuming in 2021.

McDugle said he learned of Glossip’s case a few years ago and had concerns. Now he believes Glossip is innocent after the Reed Smith law firm produced 343-page investigative report containing a deep dive into the court case, transcripts, while containing interviews of new witnesses, and new paperwork.

Stan Perry, a lawyer for Reed Smith, said 30 attorneys worked 3,000 pro-bono hours in creating the report and interviewed 38 witnessed

“We were conscious of the pain and the sorrow and the agony that the Van Treese family has experienced,” Perry said. “We’re definitely aware of that and nothing that we did here meant to do anything to them other than bring, for the first time, a comprehensive objective evaluation of the evidence and facts surrounding the death of Van Treese.”

Perry and the state representative pointed out many issues that were listed in the report.

McDugle said interview tapes that have investigators leading suspects to “give answers that fit their narrative rather than seeking information” were never shown to a jury.

According to the report, members of the jury that were interviewed as part of the independent review said they would not have convicted Glossip.

“It confirms that the actual murderer, Justin Sneed, was given a plea deal in order to point the finger at someone else,” McDugle said.

Another item in the report states that the district attorney’s office prosecuting Glossip destroyed a box of evidence “that could have exonerated Richard Glossip before his second trial.”

“We actually have paperwork that shows they were the ones that ordered the box of evidence to be destroyed,” McDugle said.

Attorneys for the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office filed notices of execution dates with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals last week in the case against Richard Glossip and 24 other death row inmates who have exhausted their appeals.

Glossip is suggested to be the second inmate scheduled to be executed, which would take place in September if the current schedule asked for by the AG’s office is granted by OCCA.

McDougle urged the AG’s office to review the report and the new evidence and said that if Glossip was put to death, that he would fight to end the death penalty in the state of Oklahoma

Despite the warning, McDugle said he does believe in the death penalty and that it deserves to be used “but the process to take somebody to death had better be of the highest integrity.”

“We got an individual that’s been sitting on death row for 25 years and I believe he is totally innocent,” McDugle said. “Help me fight and do everything that we can to get Richard Glossip off of death row. Help me do what we can to make sure Oklahoma always has the highest level of integrity when we put people to death and when we get it wrong, let us be big enough that we can stand up and say we got it wrong and right that wrong.”

Contact Derrick James at djames@mcalesternews.com

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