Speed Reads

Capital Punishment

Court halts execution of Oklahoma man who maintains innocence

Update 1:26 p.m.: The court has halted Glossip's execution after his lawyers said they had new evidence. Our original article appears below.

The state of Oklahoma is expected to proceed today with the controversial execution of Richard Glossip, a man convicted of hiring a contract killer to commit a murder in 1997.

Glossip was sentenced to death after he refused to confess to the killing he says he did not order. His case has attracted considerable attention because of the lack of physical evidence against him and contradictory statements from the confessed killer, who pointed to Glossip as the mastermind to escape being placed on death row himself.

"The Glossip case bears many of the hallmarks of the wrongful convictions that plague the death penalty system — inept defense attorneys, zero physical evidence, and the reliance on the testimony of a single person," said Marc Hyden of Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty.

Further complicating Glossip's sentence is Oklahoma's intention to execute him using the sedative midazolam, which in previous executions resulted in agonizing deaths that were dragged out for as long as two hours. In June, the Supreme Court ruled against Glossip's appeal arguing that death by midazolam constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

Glossip's attorneys are seeking a 60-day reprieve to examine new evidence, but so far it has not been granted.