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…

Oklahoma: Richard Glossip Reprieve Request

Richard Glossip, Sister Helen Prejean
NOTE to readers: Here is the text of the letter submitted on Monday (September 14) to Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin by attorneys for Richard E. Glossip.

Enclosures referenced that are not included in this posting, along with a video of the Sept. 14, 2015 press conference at the Oklahoma State Capitol, may be viewed at the website of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (OK-CADP), here: www.okcadp.org.

September 14, 2015
Dear Governor Mary Fallin:

On behalf of Mr. Richard Glossip who is scheduled to be executed September 16, 2015, we respectfully request that you invoke your Constitutional authority to grant a sixty (60) day reprieve. Article 6, § 10 of the Constitution of Oklahoma. Our recent, initial, re-investigation of Mr. Glossip’s case has uncovered compelling new evidence of innocence which we believe is more than sufficient to warrant caution on a matter of such grave consequence. With the additional time, we would continue this investigation and request to present the case anew to the Pardon and Parole Board.

The new evidence includes:

1. Expert opinions that the circumstances of this case pose a substantial risk of the execution of an innocent person. For example, Justin Sneed – the key witness against Mr. Glossip – was interrogated in a way that has been scientifically shown to produce false and unreliable information and, when exposed, exonerations.

2. Justin Sneed has bragged that, in order to escape the death penalty, he lied about Mr. Glossip’s involvement in the case and that Mr. Glossip was not involved. He also has stated he wishes to recant but fears getting the death penalty himself.

3. Justin Sneed, contrary to the meek youngster he was portrayed to be at trial, was a severe, thieving, methamphetamine addict. He stole guns and other personal belongings out of cars in the parking lot of the motel where the crime occurred – and out of occupied motel rooms – and traded what he stole for methamphetamine. He was desperate for the drug. This was the modus operandi in this murder case – taking from rooms and cars at the motel to obtain drugs – but something went tragically wrong.

We will take these three matters up in turn. Then we will explain the additional investigation that is necessary and what a 60-day reprieve would allow.
In the early morning hours of January 7, 1997, Justin Sneed, by himself, beat Barry Van Treese to death with a baseball bat in Room 102 of the Best Budget Inn, a motel in Oklahoma City owned by Mr. Van Treese. Upon arrest, he first denied any involvement in or knowledge of the murder. Over the course of a long interrogation by detectives, Sneed was pressured to implicate Richard Glossip, the manager of the motel, and was fed details which, if he adopted them, would help him. Sneed finally adopted the detectives’ story and agreed; in exchange for a life sentence for the murder he alone committed, to testify that Mr. Glossip was the mastermind of the plot to murder Mr. Van Treese to steal money from his car. Based upon Sneed’s testimony, Mr. Glossip is scheduled to be executed Wednesday, September 16, at 3:00 p.m.

As the prosecutors conceded in argument at trial: “the physical evidence doesn’t directly implicate Mr. Glossip.” The scheduled execution is because of Sneed’s testimony and credibility alone.

Source: The City Sentinel, Darla Shelden, September 15, 2015

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