Sister Helen Prejean and Richard Glossip ask Gov. Fallin for 60-day reprieve
NOTE: This is adapted from a press release submitted by the Oklahoma Coalition Against the Death Penalty
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Sister Helen Prejean, a well-known opponent of capital punishment, has circulated to news organizations, including The City Sentinel, a statement “dictated to me by phone by Richard Glossip on Jan. 22, 2015.”
Richard Eugene Glossip’s statement:
“My name is Richard Glossip. I’m coming to you today to let you know that on Jan. 29, … the State of Oklahoma is going to execute me – and that they will be executing an innocent man. I’m asking that everyone please stand up and help me to stop this injustice from happening. I’m pleading with Gov. Mary Fallin to please grant me a 60-day reprieve, which is in her power, so that my attorneys can put a case together to bring directly to her so she can see for herself all the facts of my case and not just some of them, and so I can prove to her my innocence.
“Please Gov. Fallin – give me that chance. Wouldn’t it be worth at least a 60-day reprieve to prevent an innocent man’s death? Please listen to the thousands of people who have signed my petition asking you to stop this. I’m asking Justin Sneed once again to come forward to help stop this before it’s too late. I want to thank Sister Helen Prejean and everybody else for all their help.”
Glossip and Prejean asked that concerned citizens telephone Fallin’s office and sign Glossip’s petition, at RichardEGlossip.com.
An anti-death penalty activist, Sister Prejean will speak on behalf of Glossip at a press conference Tuesday, January 27 at 10 a.m. at the State Capitol 4th floor pressroom. The event is hosted by the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
“I have been in close communication with Richard, his attorney and all the people trying to help him, and I want to participate in this press conference to get the word out about his innocence and how completely broken our criminal justice system is – including the court system – that is letting this innocent man be brought to the brink of death,” Prejean said.
Glossip is scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.
After 17 years on death row, Glossip maintains his innocence and Sister Prejean is urging Gov. Fallin to spare his life.
After witnessing the execution of a death row inmate, Patrick Sonnier, Prejean wrote a book about the experience. The result was “Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States.” The book became an Oscar winning movie, an opera and a play.
In December Glossip, 51, launched a hunger strike feeling it would give him some control over his death. He decided to resume eating, to fight for his story to be told.
Glossip was sentenced to die in 2004. He was convicted of involvement in the 1997 murder-for-hire plot that resulted in the death of Barry Van Treese. Justin Sneed was convicted of killing Treese, and is serving a life sentence without parole.
Other scheduled speakers include State Rep. George Young, D-Oklahoma City; Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee, Executive Director Oklahoma Conference of Churches; Bud Welch, President of Murder Victim Families for Human Rights and OK-DADP board member; and Brady Henderson, ACLU-OK Legal Director. Rev. Adam Leathers, OK-CADP spokesperson will make opening remarks.
OK-CADP is urging Governor Mary Fallin to halt all executions. Two more executions are scheduled: John Marion Grant is set to die on Feb. 19 and Benjamin Robert Cole, Sr. on March 5.
On Thursday, January 29, at 5:15 p.m. OK-CADP has invited the public to join one of two vigils. The Richard Glossip “Don’t Kill for Me” demonstration will be held near the Governor’s mansion in Oklahoma City. At 6 p.m. participants will begin a silent vigil until notice of a stay of execution is received or the execution is carried out.
At 5 p.m. a separate vigil will take place outside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.
If carried out, Glossip’s execution will be the second this year. Charles Warner was the first execution of 2015 and the first since the infamous “botched execution” of Clayton Darrell Lockett on April 29, 2014.
Rev. Leathers said, “Sister Prejean is not only a voice of reason on this very important issue but is also a reminder that the Death Penalty is absolutely contrary to Jesus Christ, his teachings, and what God expects from the Church.” More information about the issue, from OK-CADP’s perspective, is available at www.okcadp.org