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Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Glossip shares letter from Bridgette McInroe, UCO student

Both anti death penalty advocates, University of Central Oklahoma senior, studying forensic science and criminal justice, Bridgette McInroe (left) is seen with Sister Helen Prejean, Richard Glossip’s spiritual advisor.  Photo by Darla Shelden
Both anti death penalty advocates, University of Central Oklahoma senior, Bridgette McInroe (left) stands with Sister Helen Prejean, death row inmate Richard Glossip’s spiritual advisor, believing in Glossip’s innocence. Photo by Darla Shelden

Background: Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Glossip, scheduled to be executed on September 16, receives hundreds of letters, but this one stood out to him. After reading it to his spiritual advisor, Sister Helen Prejean, they agreed, with Bridgett’s permission, to share it with the public.

Dear Richard,

I have typed several letters and handwritten several letters that I have wanted to send you, but I was always afraid that what I said wouldn’t be the proper thing to say. But I realized that there is not a proper way to go about this. There is no political correctness to any of it, so I decided to go ahead and type another letter. I thought a handwritten letter would be more personable, but my handwriting is awful and I assumed you would give up trying to read it halfway through.

My name is Bridgette.  I am a college student here in Oklahoma studying forensic science and criminal justice. I was born and raised in Oklahoma and have lived here ever since. I tell you all these things because I believe they are important factors in order for you to understand why you have impacted my life in such a huge way.

When I first read about your case, which I believe was at the beginning of 2014, I was appalled. The more I read about it the more appalled I became. This led to a huge change in my life and my perspective on many things. I know this sounds crazy, but your case really made me reevaluate our criminal justice system, starting with the politicians we elect all the way up to how we treat people in prison. What has happened to you has encouraged me to pursue a life and career in assisting individuals who end up in the same situation as you have.

I have always been against the death penalty. I think it is quite disconcerting that such a progressive country still uses it as a form of punishment, despite all of the research that shows how ineffective it is. Since we live in a state that is full of diehard Republicans who tend to believe in the use of the death penalty, I thought it would be hard or meaningless for me to spread the word about your injustice here in Oklahoma.  Surprisingly, I realized that many people were more than willing to listen to me and help bring awareness to your case. I know that I cannot do much to help you but I have signed all the petitions that are asking for Governor Mary Fallin to stay your execution. I have written letters to her and to Attorney General Scott Pruitt. I have donated to your legal fund. I have shared your story in every class I am in and to every person that will listen to me, but I know that will never be enough.

I am really writing you to let you know that there are so many of us fighting for you. I have a good feeling that justice will be served and one day you will be able to walk out of the prison doors. But I want you to know how much you have inspired me. If justice is not served and Oklahoma decides to murder an innocent man who has become a victim to its own justice system, I want you to know that your life has given my life so much more purpose. If your execution does go through, I want you to know that your life has opened the eyes of so many people. I do not believe it is just the case or the wrongful conviction that has changed my life; I believe it is who you are as a person as well. I get these vibes that you are an extraordinary individual who has more strength than I will ever have. I realize that I am just a stranger to you and that you are fighting much larger battles than I am, but it is important for me to share this with you.

For somebody who I have never met to make such a difference in my life is incredible. A man who has been sentenced to death and is sitting on death row is somebody I can say I look up to.  There is so much irony behind that, right?  I believe this is a huge indicator that our system is not doing its job properly. You could have pled guilty to the crime and possibly been out on parole by now, but you put your faith in the system and thought that justice would be served. I cannot imagine how frustrating this must be to you. I am so sorry for what has been done to you. I know that means absolutely nothing, but I am heartbroken over this. It is hard for me to write to you about your case because I know that anything I say is never going to be good enough to explain the gravity of this awful situation.

I am not sure if you will receive this, but I’m really hoping that you do. To get a reply from you would make my heart so happy, but really I just want you to know that I am continuing to fight for you and for justice to be served with each day that passes. As the day gets closer to your scheduled execution, I want you to know that you are not alone. There are so many of us standing right by your side, you just may not be able to see us. If justice is not properly served, I promise that I will not stop fighting for you.

If there is anything I can do to help or anybody that I can talk to or reach out to, please let me know. I have so much respect for you and owe a lot to you because of the way that you have inspired me. I hope one day I will have the opportunity to explain that to you. You are stronger than I will ever be and I hope to hear back from you. But if not, the most important thing to remember is how many people are out here fighting for you, and regardless of what happens, your life will continue to impact us and push us to fight harder for justice.

Thank you for being you,
Bridgette McInroe

Ms. McInroe lives in Oklahoma City and is a student at the University of Central Oklahoma where she studies forensic science and criminal justice.

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