Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Sister Helen Prejean in Oklahoma raising money for death row inmate's innocence claim

Richard Glossip
Richard Glossip
OKLAHOMA CITY — Sister Helen Prejean and others were raising funds Monday to mount an innocence campaign for death row inmate Richard Glossip.

Prejean joined Don Knight, who is one of Glossip’s lawyers, and the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty for a news conference at the Capitol to discuss the case and issue a plea for money and leads in the case.

Prejean is the author of “Dead Man Walking,” a book about a death row inmate that was made into a 1995 movie of the same name starring Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon.

Prejean said Glossip has asked her to be one of his execution witnesses.

The Roman Catholic nun said the legal system claims the death penalty should be reserved for the worst of the worst.

“The death penalty you say you believe in is not the one you have in practice,” Prejean said.

Glossip should not be put to death, she said, describing him as one of the “sweetest people I have ever met.”

He is set to die Sept. 16 at Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.

An Oklahoma County jury convicted Glossip of first-degree murder in the death of Barry Van Treese, who owned the Best Budget Inn in Oklahoma City. Glossip was the resident manager.

Prosecutors alleged that Glossip hired Justin Sneed, a friend, to kill Van Treese. Sneed, 19, had worked at the motel doing maintenance.

Van Treese was killed Jan. 7, 1997, at the motel with a baseball bat. He died of a head injury caused by blunt force trauma.

Sneed pled guilty to first-degree murder and was sentencing to life without parole. He testified at the trial of Glossip, who got the death sentence.

Knight said the investigation was flawed from the start. Prosecutors used a snitch, he said, and the defense was underfunded.

“Richard Glossip is innocent,” Knight said. “He didn’t do this.”

Sneed could help by coming forward and saying Glossip was not involved, Knight said. “We need help,” he said. “We need a lot of help.”

Those with information about the case can call 1-303-797-1645. Those seeking to donate to the campaign can go to richardeglossip.com.

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office wants Glossip to be executed.

Source: Tulsa World, Barbara Hoberock, July 14, 2015

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