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Panel finds 'serious flaws' in Oklahoma death penalty process

A bipartisan commission studying Oklahoma's death penalty released a study Tuesday recommending the state continue its current moratorium on executions "until significant reforms are made."

“As we studied this process, it became so clear to us that the death penalty process has serious flaws," said former Gov. Brad Henry, a member of the Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission.

"We were all disturbed by the volume and the seriousness of the flaws in Oklahoma's capital punishment system," Henry said.

"This yearlong investigation led members to question whether the death penalty can be administered in a way that insures that no innocent person is put to death.”

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has not had a chance to review the commission's report, said spokesman Mark Myers, and the department is still working to finalize its own death penalty protocol, which it must present to the Oklahoma attorney general's office before the state can resume executions.

Among the 46 recommendations was for the state to stop using a three-drug method and go back to using a single barbiturate, such as pentobarbital.

Pentobarbital has become increasingly hard to find for states administering the death penalty, as the companies that manufacture the drug have moved in recent years to block its use in executions. Midazolam, which was first used in Oklahoma during the botched 2014 execution of Clayton Lockett, has become controversial but is widely used by states.

The commission proposed significant reforms to capital punishment trials, including jury instruction and limits to certain types of testimony, changes to the clemency process and new training for judges, attorneys and law officers across the state.

Henry expressed particular concern about a lack of funding for public defenders who represent inmates on death row.

"They are just overwhelmed with felony cases," Henry said. "They don't have enough attorneys, they don't have the funding that they need, especially in death penalty cases, to hire investigators, to hire experts.”

“This state, I think, has a decision to make. And that decision is do we want to pay for the death penalty? Do we want to get it right? Do we want to put the resources into it? Do we want to reform the laws to make sure that we never execute an innocent person?”

Commission members expressed concern that innocent people could and likely have faced execution in Oklahoma. Members urged state officials in all three branches of government to adopt their reforms before continuing with the death penalty.

“Because, in the end, perfection is probably not attainable in this life, but the difference with the death penalty is the finality," said University of Oklahoma College of Law professor Maria Kolar, a commission member.

"And once an execution is imposed, it's over, and there's no sorries, and there's no 'we made a mistake and we're sorry.'”

Since 1973, 158 inmates have been released from death rows across the nation, including 10 inmates sentenced to death in Oklahoma, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

One of the commission members, Christy Sheppard, is the cousin of Debbie Carter, who was killed in Ada in 1982. In that case, two men were wrongfully convicted, including one who was sent to death row, before being freed after DNA evidence pointed to another suspect.

"We had lost all faith in the criminal justice system, in addition to the agonizing guilt that two innocent men had suffered," Sheppard said. "For my aunt, Debbie's mother, the death penalty had become a false promise."

The state has upheld a moratorium on the death penalty since October of 2015, following a drug mix-up that halted, for the third time, the execution of Richard Glossip.

Glossip was given a death sentence for orchestrating the 1997 murder of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Glossip has always maintained that he is not guilty.

Earlier that year, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections executed Charles Warner by lethal injection using a drug the department was not authorized to use under state protocol.

The panel was funded by the Constitution Project, the Washington D.C.-based bipartisan research nonprofit group. Three co-chairs led the effort: Henry, former Appeals Court Judge Reta Strubhar and former U.S. Magistrate Judge Andy Lester.

Read the full report at okdeathpenaltyreview.org.

Contributing: Associated Press

Read the report

Previous coverage

Published October 16, 2015: All Oklahoma executions are on hold until at least 2016 Published October 8, 2015: Wrong drug used for January execution, state records show Published September 30, 2015: Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin stays execution of Richard Glossip

Related Photos
Terri Watkins, communications director for the Department of Corrections, briefs media witnesses before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Terri Watkins, communications director for the Department of Corrections, briefs media witnesses before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-8665c30f7583efff056b77ed64f0b3e2.jpg" alt="Photo - Terri Watkins, communications director for the Department of Corrections, briefs media witnesses before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman " title="Terri Watkins, communications director for the Department of Corrections, briefs media witnesses before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman "><figcaption>Terri Watkins, communications director for the Department of Corrections, briefs media witnesses before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-31a40023501a717081a9f97c0ebd1b79.jpg" alt="Photo - Alex Gerszewski, left, and Terri Watkins draw names in the media center for the media witnesses to the execution of Richard Eugene Glossip at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Watkins is the communications director for the Department of Corrections. Gerszewski is a public information officer. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman " title="Alex Gerszewski, left, and Terri Watkins draw names in the media center for the media witnesses to the execution of Richard Eugene Glossip at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Watkins is the communications director for the Department of Corrections. Gerszewski is a public information officer. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman "><figcaption>Alex Gerszewski, left, and Terri Watkins draw names in the media center for the media witnesses to the execution of Richard Eugene Glossip at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Watkins is the communications director for the Department of Corrections. Gerszewski is a public information officer. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-91c66f9270151a91e07175649e19e67c.jpg" alt="Photo - Cameras are set up in the media center before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman " title="Cameras are set up in the media center before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman "><figcaption>Cameras are set up in the media center before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9e355120be6dfebed2a06503b7415a24.jpg" alt="Photo - A satellite truck is parked at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman " title="A satellite truck is parked at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman "><figcaption>A satellite truck is parked at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-956cb82b8b265b2203eaee9cdbc72a91.jpg" alt="Photo - The Oklahoma State Penitentiary before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman " title="The Oklahoma State Penitentiary before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman "><figcaption>The Oklahoma State Penitentiary before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a949d83d61c2fd26891b3339ec7acebf.jpg" alt="Photo - Satellite trucks are parked at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman " title="Satellite trucks are parked at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman "><figcaption>Satellite trucks are parked at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c4c9b64dd6da76ac8cbc6df3dec75b8f.jpg" alt="Photo - Don Knight, attorney for Richard Glossip, right, gives a television interview before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip, outside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman " title="Don Knight, attorney for Richard Glossip, right, gives a television interview before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip, outside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman "><figcaption>Don Knight, attorney for Richard Glossip, right, gives a television interview before the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip, outside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-3337cd6de7ee24daf6349fc096b1bad4.jpg" alt="Photo - " title=""><figcaption></figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-6af02b8789144e5547510425993f4e1b.jpg" alt="Photo - " title=""><figcaption></figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-67fc3a15490839df94b962e0da7ec8a9.jpg" alt="Photo - Karin Stafford, of Oklahoma City, joins a crowd of peaceful protestors who gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. Stafford said this was the first time she has taken part in an anti-death penalty vigil.She came by herself, but stood shoulder to shoulder with other protestors. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. " title="Karin Stafford, of Oklahoma City, joins a crowd of peaceful protestors who gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. Stafford said this was the first time she has taken part in an anti-death penalty vigil.She came by herself, but stood shoulder to shoulder with other protestors. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. "><figcaption>Karin Stafford, of Oklahoma City, joins a crowd of peaceful protestors who gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. Stafford said this was the first time she has taken part in an anti-death penalty vigil.She came by herself, but stood shoulder to shoulder with other protestors. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-bc337209ce9651899ef8af0e6c00e74b.jpg" alt="Photo - Missionary Edna Osborne, 61, traveled with another woman from Broken Arrow to be among a crowd of peaceful protestors who gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. Osborne said she is a Baptist &quot;and we don't believe in killing.&quot; She added, &quot;the Bible tells us 'Thou shalt not kill' and because of her Christian beliefs, she felt it was important for her to attend the vigil. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. " title="Missionary Edna Osborne, 61, traveled with another woman from Broken Arrow to be among a crowd of peaceful protestors who gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. Osborne said she is a Baptist &quot;and we don't believe in killing.&quot; She added, &quot;the Bible tells us 'Thou shalt not kill' and because of her Christian beliefs, she felt it was important for her to attend the vigil. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. "><figcaption>Missionary Edna Osborne, 61, traveled with another woman from Broken Arrow to be among a crowd of peaceful protestors who gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. Osborne said she is a Baptist &quot;and we don't believe in killing.&quot; She added, &quot;the Bible tells us 'Thou shalt not kill' and because of her Christian beliefs, she felt it was important for her to attend the vigil. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f09701fb7c27f8be3fd7ab06de5463dd.jpg" alt="Photo - A crowd of peaceful protestors gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. " title="A crowd of peaceful protestors gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. "><figcaption>A crowd of peaceful protestors gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a1f2d06894cf9c3438fbf91fb28009f7.jpg" alt="Photo - A crowd of peaceful protestors gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. " title="A crowd of peaceful protestors gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. "><figcaption>A crowd of peaceful protestors gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c777c35d8f2306241fe7d1e9b419705e.jpg" alt="Photo - A crowd of peaceful protestors gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. " title="A crowd of peaceful protestors gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. "><figcaption>A crowd of peaceful protestors gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c46bec7329479f3b80496dd36d4217bb.jpg" alt="Photo - Don Knight, attorney for Richard Glossip, talks on the phone to Glossip as Sister Helen Prejean looks on after the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman " title="Don Knight, attorney for Richard Glossip, talks on the phone to Glossip as Sister Helen Prejean looks on after the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman "><figcaption>Don Knight, attorney for Richard Glossip, talks on the phone to Glossip as Sister Helen Prejean looks on after the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-90500c71cd1e3da4c708a5ee8c508693.jpg" alt="Photo - Karin Stafford, of Oklahoma City, joins a crowd of peaceful protestors who gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. Stafford said this was the first time she has taken part in an anti-death penalty vigil.She came by herself, but stood shoulder to shoulder with other protestors. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. " title="Karin Stafford, of Oklahoma City, joins a crowd of peaceful protestors who gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. Stafford said this was the first time she has taken part in an anti-death penalty vigil.She came by herself, but stood shoulder to shoulder with other protestors. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. "><figcaption>Karin Stafford, of Oklahoma City, joins a crowd of peaceful protestors who gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. Stafford said this was the first time she has taken part in an anti-death penalty vigil.She came by herself, but stood shoulder to shoulder with other protestors. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-67907c093c7fb52c7a5c670229eaed8e.jpg" alt="Photo - A crowd of peaceful protestors gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. " title="A crowd of peaceful protestors gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. "><figcaption>A crowd of peaceful protestors gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-6ef5d04d2dc8e657edcfb88a0b313280.jpg" alt="Photo - A crowd of peaceful protestors gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. " title="A crowd of peaceful protestors gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. "><figcaption>A crowd of peaceful protestors gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f3363f7259f0cb83365ca94009aa8677.jpg" alt="Photo - John Walters, head of the Oklahoma City chapter of Amnesty International, lowers his head in a moment of solitude as he joins a crowd of peaceful protestors gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. " title="John Walters, head of the Oklahoma City chapter of Amnesty International, lowers his head in a moment of solitude as he joins a crowd of peaceful protestors gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. "><figcaption>John Walters, head of the Oklahoma City chapter of Amnesty International, lowers his head in a moment of solitude as he joins a crowd of peaceful protestors gathered along NE 23 Street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015, to keep a silent vigil as the scheduled time drew near for the execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip at the state penitentiary in McAlester. As many as 40 people held banners, waved signs and waved as honking motorists passed during their nearly two-hour long vigil. Several groups were represented among the protestors, including the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, The Norman community of Quakers and Amnesty International. Glossip, 52, received a last minute stay from Gov. Mary Fallin. He was scheduled to to die at 3 p.m. Wednesday after being convicted in two separate trials in the 1997 beating death of his boss, Barry Van Treese. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-db39e701ae6414cd8c4543bc70d1af34.jpg" alt="Photo - Don Knight, attorney for Richard Glossip, talks on the phone to Glossip after the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman " title="Don Knight, attorney for Richard Glossip, talks on the phone to Glossip after the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman "><figcaption>Don Knight, attorney for Richard Glossip, talks on the phone to Glossip after the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d215f7205898e63dedbdb56a0bc9fa4b.jpg" alt="Photo - Robert Patton, director of the Department of Corrections, leaves the media center after addressing the media when the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman " title="Robert Patton, director of the Department of Corrections, leaves the media center after addressing the media when the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman "><figcaption>Robert Patton, director of the Department of Corrections, leaves the media center after addressing the media when the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-20574e92e848f92aa08341159b507546.jpg" alt="Photo - Robert Patton, director of the Department of Corrections, addresses the media after the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman " title="Robert Patton, director of the Department of Corrections, addresses the media after the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman "><figcaption>Robert Patton, director of the Department of Corrections, addresses the media after the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c3f8f3861fc7f848a893af60299892a7.jpg" alt="Photo - Alex Gerszewski, public information officer for the Department of Corrections, holds a press release and an executive order from Gov. Mary Fallin staying the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman " title="Alex Gerszewski, public information officer for the Department of Corrections, holds a press release and an executive order from Gov. Mary Fallin staying the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman "><figcaption>Alex Gerszewski, public information officer for the Department of Corrections, holds a press release and an executive order from Gov. Mary Fallin staying the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-17392b1cc7493caba7fcea6b3b0a497a.jpg" alt="Photo - Sister Helen Prejean, middle, talks on the phone to death row inmate Richard Glossip after his scheduled execution was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed Richard Eugene Glossip's execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman " title="Sister Helen Prejean, middle, talks on the phone to death row inmate Richard Glossip after his scheduled execution was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed Richard Eugene Glossip's execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman "><figcaption>Sister Helen Prejean, middle, talks on the phone to death row inmate Richard Glossip after his scheduled execution was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed Richard Eugene Glossip's execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-62dc53845fc793b746c7534f62aaa586.jpg" alt="Photo - Donna Atkins, sister of Richard Glossip, celebrates with an unidentified family friend after the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman " title="Donna Atkins, sister of Richard Glossip, celebrates with an unidentified family friend after the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman "><figcaption>Donna Atkins, sister of Richard Glossip, celebrates with an unidentified family friend after the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-dd296caed32cc137507650a317900fbf.jpg" alt="Photo - Sister Helen Prejean, right, talks with Debra Ogden, of Choctaw, niece of Richard Glossip, after the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman " title="Sister Helen Prejean, right, talks with Debra Ogden, of Choctaw, niece of Richard Glossip, after the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman "><figcaption>Sister Helen Prejean, right, talks with Debra Ogden, of Choctaw, niece of Richard Glossip, after the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-bbe60c6744a304a630ae3e776f17b6e0.jpg" alt="Photo - Don Knight, right, attorney for Richard Glossip, gets a hug from Carl Oldham, a family friend of Glossip from Wright City, Okla., after the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman " title="Don Knight, right, attorney for Richard Glossip, gets a hug from Carl Oldham, a family friend of Glossip from Wright City, Okla., after the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman "><figcaption>Don Knight, right, attorney for Richard Glossip, gets a hug from Carl Oldham, a family friend of Glossip from Wright City, Okla., after the scheduled execution of Richard Eugene Glossip was stayed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Gov. Fallin stayed the execution for 37 days. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-11d8e0f2b655f7192a8a9f3a257dffba.jpg" alt="Photo - Sister Helen Prejean speaking to death row inmate Richard Glossip moments after his execution was postponed Wednesday, marking the third time he has come within hours of execution before receiving a stay. Photo by Graham Brewer, The Oklahoman." title="Sister Helen Prejean speaking to death row inmate Richard Glossip moments after his execution was postponed Wednesday, marking the third time he has come within hours of execution before receiving a stay. Photo by Graham Brewer, The Oklahoman."><figcaption>Sister Helen Prejean speaking to death row inmate Richard Glossip moments after his execution was postponed Wednesday, marking the third time he has come within hours of execution before receiving a stay. Photo by Graham Brewer, The Oklahoman.</figcaption></figure>
Graham Lee Brewer

Graham Lee Brewer has covered criminal justice, the state prison system, the death penalty, and the state legislature for The Oklahoman, since joining its staff in 2013. Brewer witnessed and investigated the botched execution of Clayton Lockett,... Read more ›

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