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Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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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…

Appeals court grants Richard Glossip two week stay hours before execution

Richard Glossip, Sister Helen Prejean
Richard Glossip, Sister Helen Prejean
MCALESTER, Okla. – Just hours before an Oklahoma man was set to be executed, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals granted Richard Glossip a two-week stay of execution.

Glossip was convicted of murder for the 1997 death of motel owner Barry Van Treese, though Glossip wasn’t the actual killer.

The man who bludgeoned Van Treese to death, Justin Sneed, testified that Glossip hired him for the murder.

With just hours before Glossip’s scheduled execution, his lawyers asked Gov. Mary Fallin for a 60-day reprieve based on the new evidence of innocence they say they discovered in the past two weeks.

Gov. Fallin denied a stay of execution yet again late Tuesday afternoon.

But, she went on to urge Glossip’s legal team to present the information to a court of law saying “Courts, unlike my office, have the legal authority to grant an indefinite stay of execution of a retrial.”

And, that is exactly what Glossip’s attorneys did Tuesday afternoon, filing what’s called a “successor petition (pdf)” with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, asking for a hearing.

Glossip was scheduled to be executed on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

However, the Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that Glossip should be given a two-week stay of execution just three hours before the execution was set to begin.

Source: kfor.com, Sept. 16, 2015


Tears And Hugs After Richard Glossip Reprieve

What it feels like to win someone a stay of execution...Sr. Helen and part of Richard's legal team, as tweeted by Phil Cross
What it feels like to win someone a stay of execution...
Sr. Helen and part of Richard's legal team, as tweeted by Phil Cross
A Sky correspondent invited to watch an Oklahoma man put to death describes emotional scenes as the execution is halted.

The prison official who checked my passport as ID told us: "This is a horrible event but we're going to make it as pleasant as possible. We have cookies and coffee for you."

And with that, three official witnesses to an execution were waved into Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

I was in a car along with Sister Helen Prejean, the author of Dead Man Walking and Richard Glossip's best friend, Kim Van Atta.

Behind us were the two other witnesses who the death row inmate had requested, Crystal Martinez, another friend, and Kim Bellware from the Huffington Post.

So two friends, two journalists and a nun.

Though the official briefing from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections had listed Kim Bellware and me as "friends" too.

I may be a reporter but I now consider Richard Glossip to be a friend.

It was 11.30am and Richard Glossip was due to die in three-and-a-half hours.

Sr. Helen tells Susan Sarandon the good news that Richard Glossip will live to see another day.
Sr. Helen tells Susan Sarandon the good news that Richard
Glossip will live to see another day.
Sister Helen was optimistic.

She felt that the attorneys who filed a motion for a stay of execution with the Court of Criminal Appeals had done a good job.

I didn't believe her.

The speed with which the Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin had rejected the new evidence had convinced me the execution would go ahead.

We were shown to a room with water and coffee, though not yet any cookies.

We chatted.

The mood was reasonably upbeat, given that was how Richard Glossip had been the night before.

Sister Helen asked to use the bathroom.

I was about to broach the tentative subject of funeral arrangements with Crystal and Kim Van Atta when half a dozen men in suits walked into the room.

I recognised one of them as Robert Patton, the Director of the Department of Corrections. The big boss.

He looked deadly serious. That was to be expected.

He said he wanted to speak to us, but when told that Sister Helen was out of the room, he said he would wait.

Only a few moments passed when she returned and sat down.

Mr Patton announced there had been a stay of execution.

We didn't quite take it in. He needed to repeat it.

Click here to read the full article (+ videos)

Source: Sky News, Ian Woods, Sept. 16, 2015


Oklahoma death row inmate’s case will leave lasting legacy, activist says

Sr. Helen Prejean delivering 267,000-strong petition against Richard Glossip Oklahoma execution.
Sr. Helen Prejean delivering a 267,000-strong petition
against Richard Glossip Oklahoma execution.
Death penalty opponent Sister Helen Prejean says inmate Richard Glossip's case has reshaped American views on execution

Death penalty opponent Sister Helen Prejean told Al Jazeera that Oklahoma death row inmate Richard “Eugene” Glossip, who was granted a last-minute stay of execution on Wednesday, will have successfully changed American views on the death penalty “if he lives or if he dies.”

Glossip, 52, was charged in the 1997 murder of Barry Van Treese, his employer at an Oklahoma City motel. With a dearth of physical evidence, Glossip was convicted primarily on testimony given by Justin Sneed, 38, who was given a life sentence in exchange for his confession that Glossip hired him to beat Van Treese to death. Glossip has maintained his innocence.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals granted Glossip a two-week stay of execution hours before he was set to die at 3 p.m. local time, news site NewsOk.com reported. During those two weeks, judges will consider new evidence in Glossip's case that state authorities have derided as a "publicity campaign" for death penalty opponents.

An argument filed to an Oklahoma appeals court late Tuesday included a signed affidavit from a convict in Sneed’s prison claiming that Sneed had been “bragging about how Glossip took the fall” for Van Treese’s murder, said Prejean, Glossip’s spiritual adviser. The Roman Catholic nun added that the new evidence could vindicate Glossip.

Prejean, whose autobiographical account of her relationship with a prisoner inspired the 1995 blockbuster film “Dead Man Walking,” said she believes Glossip is innocent, and that his case has proven for many Americans that the U.S. legal system occasionally executes innocent people based on faulty evidence.

“If they kill Richard today, or if they don’t, the landscape has changed, because it will be an excellent example of how you can kill an innocent man. The American people are waking up. Richard will have helped if he lives or if he dies,” she said.

Glossip’s case has also been influential in other ways, Prejean said.

Click here to read the full article

Source: AlJazeera America, Massoud Hayoun, September 16, 2015

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