I'm a strong believer and supporter of the death penalty. I believe that in the worst cases, cases that involve child murder and the like, the only justice is a death sentence. But as much as I support the death penalty, I know that an innocent man can find his way to death row. Anytime there's a human involved, there can be errors, and anytime you have poor representation, you can get a conviction, even of someone who is innocent.
Richard Glossip, 59, is on death row for the 1997 beating death of his boss, Oklahoma City motel owner Barry Van Treese. Justin Sneed, a motel maintenance man, confessed to the killing, saying Glossip offered to pay him $10,000 to do it to keep from being fired.
I became concerned about Glossip's case after visiting with him, reviewing the facts of the case and taking my own measure of the man. I believe him to be innocent.
So I asked Reed Smith, a well-respected law firm, to conduct an independent investigation, review all the evidence, look for new evidence and bring that back to me and my fellow Republican legislators for our review.
They have submitted their report to us, a report created by over 30 attorneys with over 3,000 pro bono hours, and this is what it found. The report concludes that "the 2004 trial and all of its failures can neither be relied on to support a murder for hire conviction nor as a basis for the government to take the life of Richard E. Glossip."
It is this investigative report, along with my own personal investigation, that leads me to call for the attorney general to hold a new hearing of the evidence in Glossip's case. I believe that Glossip is innocent, and this is why.
Early on in the investigation of Van Treese's murder, Glossip was pulled in by investigators. Glossip proclaimed his innocence from the start, but as the Reed Smith investigation showed, there was "tunnel vision by investigators that led to an investigation riddled by errors." Reed Smith found that the police "steered Sneed to implicate Glossip."
According to Reed Smith's findings, "... the jury ...received incorrect instructions, and there was a cascade of errors by defense attorneys at all stages and a distortion of evidence by the prosecution."
Most disturbing, they also found that there was "destruction of evidence."
I have reviewed Glossip's case, I have reviewed the new evidence and fully reviewed this independent investigation by Reed Smith. I believe Glossip to be innocent, but don't take my word.Read the report for yourself. It's time for us to make sure that in Oklahoma we get it right. We have the responsibility to know that the person we are putting to death is guilty. In this case, Oklahoma is about to get it wrong, very wrong. Join me in helping save this innocent man's life by demanding that no execution date be set before these facts can be heard in a court of law.
Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow, serves in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Guest column on Glossip case: 'Oklahoma is about to get it wrong'