Pope asks Fallin to commute Glossip’s death sentence
Ponca City Now - September 30, 2015 1:41 pm
By The Associated Press
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The latest on the scheduled execution of an Oklahoma death row inmate who was convicted of ordering the 1997 beating death of a motel owner but claims he is innocent and was framed by the actual killer (all times are local):
A representative for Pope Francis has asked Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin to commute the death sentence of a man set to be executed Wednesday afternoon.
The letter from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano is dated Sept. 19, but was released Wednesday by the governor’s office. Vigano, who is Francis’ diplomatic representative in the U.S., requested that Fallin commute the death sentence of inmate Richard Glossip.
The letter says a commutation "would give clearer witness to the value and dignity of every person’s life."
A spokesman for Fallin says the governor does not have the authority to grant a commutation.
Vigano sent a similar letter Tuesday to officials in Georgia, but that didn’t prevent the execution of Kelly Renee Gissendaner. During the pontiff’s visit last week to the U.S., Francis urged Congress to abolish the death penalty.
A death row inmate’s scheduled execution for his role in a 1997 motel killing would be the first in Oklahoma since the nation’s highest court upheld the state’s three-drug lethal injection formula.
Richard Glossip is scheduled to be executed Wednesday at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, despite his claim of innocence. A request for a stay of execution is pending with the U.S. Supreme Court.
Glossip was the lead plaintiff in a separate case in which his attorneys argued the sedative midazolam did not adequately render an inmate unconscious before the second and third drugs were administered.
They said that presented a substantial risk of violating the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. But in June, the justices voted 5-4 that the sedative’s use was constitutional.