(OKLAHOMA CITY) — A man on death row in Oklahoma who is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday has received support from Pope Francis.
Richard Glossip was convicted of ordering the death of a motel owner in 1997, but he claims he is innocent and was framed by a former co-worker.
The personal representative of Pope Francis wrote a letter to Gov. Mary Fallin dated Sept. 19 asking her to commute Glossip’s death sentence.
“Together with Pope Francis, I believe that a commutation of Mr. Glossip’s sentence would give clearer witness to the value and dignity of every person’s life, and would contribute to a society more cognizant of the mercy that God has bestowed upon us all,” wrote Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the “personal representative of His Holiness Pope Francis to the United States of America.”
Glossip has received support from well-known figures including actress Susan Sarandon and Sister Helen Prejean, who is an ardent opponent of the death penalty. A spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections told ABC News that the execution is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT.
Glossip’s execution at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary would be the first in the state since the Supreme Court upheld the state’s three-drug lethal injection formula of Midazolam this summer.
Glossip is accused of ordering the death of Barry Alan Van Treese, owner of the Best Budget Inn in Oklahoma City. Glossip was the motel’s manager. Van Treese was found beaten to death in one of the motel’s rooms on Jan. 7, 1997.
Motel maintenance worker Justin Sneed, who is sentenced to life without parole, testified during Glossip’s trial that he was promised $10,000 if he robbed and killed Van Treese.
Glossip’s previous execution dates have been halted. On the eve of his execution earlier this month, his attorneys notified the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals that they had new evidence, including an affidavit from an inmate who said Sneed admitted to lying about Glossip’s involvement in the murder.
On Monday, the appeals court voted 3-2 that Glossip’s new claims simply restate arguments raised in earlier appeals.
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