By CAROL COLE-FROWE and MANNY FERNANDEZ
September 30, 2015
McALESTER, Okla. — Richard E. Glossip, the death row inmate who challenged the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol before the Supreme Court, was granted a stay of execution shortly before he was scheduled to be put to death here Wednesday, the latest twist in a case that has attracted widespread support from celebrities and death-penalty opponents who believe he is innocent.
Mr. Glossip, 52, was one of three condemned inmates who argued that Oklahoma’s three-drug combination risked causing unconstitutional pain and suffering, after one of the drugs — midazolam, a short-acting sedative — had a role in three apparently painful executions last year. In June, the Supreme Court upheld the state’s drug protocol and ruled against the inmates. Midazolam was one of the three drugs that was set to be injected into Mr. Glossip Wednesday afternoon at a state prison in McAlester.
But more than an hour after the scheduled execution time, Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma intervened, issuing a stay to address questions about the state’s execution protocols. Ms. Fallin said the stay will allow the Department of Corrections and its lawyers to determine whether potassium acetate — one of the three drugs the state planned on using — complied with the state’s court-approved protocols.
“Last minute questions were raised today about Oklahoma’s execution protocol and the chemicals used for lethal injection,” Ms. Fallin said. “After consulting with the attorney general and the Department of Corrections, I have issued a 37-day stay of execution while the state addresses those questions and ensures it is complying fully with the protocols approved by federal courts.”
A new execution date was set for Nov. 6.
The stay was unexpected. Ms. Fallin had previously turned down a request from Mr. Glossip’s lawyers for a 60-day stay this month. That request, and much of the attention in recent weeks concerning Mr. Glossip’s case, centered not on the state’s drug protocols but on claims of new evidence his supporters and lawyers said proved he was innocent.
Mr. Glossip was convicted in the 1997 murder of Barry Van Treese, the owner of the Best Budget Inn in Oklahoma City, a motel Mr. Glossip managed. The prosecutors maintained that Mr. Glossip had persuaded a 19 …Read More