I am usually proud to be an Oklahoman. I love my state. I love the people. I love the waving wheat, the beautiful skies (more beautiful than any other state I have lived in) and the good food.
But when it comes to my home state’s record on the death penalty, however, I am deeply ashamed.
Some of you may have heard of the recent gruesome execution of Clayton Lockett who received an experimental cocktail of drugs that did not work properly. For over forty minutes after receiving the dose of drugs Clayton squirmed in agony on the gurney, trying to speak until he finally succumbed to a heart attack.
One of the comments on an LA Times article that detailed Clayton’s brutal death reveals the vengeful emotions that unabashedly underlie many of the arguments for the death penalty:
This is karma. He shot his victim in the head with a shotgun and buried her while she was still breathing.
It is frightening to me that arguments for the death penalty, (and torture), often reveal the same brutality that is in the criminals and terrorists who unashamedly take innocent life.
Richard Glossip is scheduled for execution in Oklahoma on January 29, 2015. He was accused of commissioning the murder of his boss. The murderer, Justin Sneed, testified against him in exchange for a plea deal.
Richard however maintains his innocence and has been on hunger strike to protest his execution. When asked about the possibility of being force-fed by the state to prevent him from dying before his execution Richard said:
That should scare people, that’s a pretty sadistic way to look at things…They’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep me alive just so they can kill me.
I will put my cards on the table. I am against the death penalty.
This is in keeping with my faith and common sense.
I would want Richard off death row even if he was clearly guilty. However, I find this case to be particularly disturbing because the evidence against Richard is very weak.
The most damning and crucial evidence against Richard is the testimony of the killer, Justin Sneed, who claims that Richard offered money to Justin to kill Richard’s boss. Sneed testified in exchange for a plea deal that spared him the death penalty. This move gave Justin, the actual killer, life without parole while Richard is on death row.
So the actual killer avoided death row by implicating Richard.
Some crucial evidence.
In addition to this, the daughter of Justin Sneed submitted a letter to the parole board stating that her father has said for years that Richard was not involved in the murder but is afraid to recant because he might lose his plea deal and end up on death row himself.
The online petition to grant clemency to Richard outlines several more reasons that the case against Richard is suspect.
If you are against the death penalty, please sign the petition asking the governor of Oklahoma to spare Richard’s life.
If you are for the death penalty, please sign the petition asking the governor of Oklahoma to spare Richard’s life. It does not help the case for the death penalty to kill innocent people. Since 1973 one hundred and fifty people on death row have been found innocent. That is a frightening number. It indicates that our justice system has most likely sent innocent people to their death. In my opinion, just that possibility is sufficient argument against the death penalty.
So, wherever you find yourself on this issue, please sign the petition to save Richard’s life.
And please spread the word.
UPDATE: Richard has received a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court. His execution is suspended pending further investigation. Please continue to pray for this case and for all involved.
UPDATE: April 13, 2015
From the online petition for Richard’s release:
Unfortunately, support for the petition has slowed down and this is likely due Richard’s stay of execution in January. What needs to be understood is that the stay did NOT come from Governor Fallin, it came from the US Supreme Court while it decides whether or not the drug midazolam should be used in executions. This means that the stay was not based on the merits of the case against Richard and that as soon as Oklahoma finds a new way to execute (or is allowed to continue using midazolam) Richard is still going to be killed.
To keep this from happening, attorneys are working hard to draft a new appeal for Richard. While they are generously donating their time and efforts, they need to hire investigators to gather and review evidence, find witnesses, etc. They will also need to hire experts to review evidence and provide testimony. This is where you come in!
If everyone that signed this petition donated $1, we would enough to fund his legal defense. Please consider making a donation to help his attorneys save his life.
You can make a donation here:
… Thank you very much and please continue to spread the word about signing the petition!
If you have not signed the petition yet, please do so HERE.