- Getty Images/Larry French
Update: Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has issued a 37 day stay of execution for Richard Glossip, citing concerns about the drugs involved involved in the lethal injection. The original story is below.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò wrote a letter to Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin on behalf of Pope Francis, requesting that Fallin commute the death sentence of Richard Glossip. Glossip was sentenced to death for allegedly hiring a co-worker to kill Barry Van Treese, their boss.
Originally scheduled for September 16th, the execution was delayed two weeks after new evidence had been uncovered suggesting Glossip’s innocence. Glossip’s execution was rescheduled for 4:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, September 30th, but Department of Corrections officials delayed the execution as they waited for the Supreme Court’s response to a petition submitted by Glossip’s lawyers.
Justin Dougherty, of KWTV-News 9, reports that just before the scheduled execution time, the Supreme Court handed down an order denying the stay of execution. The Department of Correction has not yet announced the status of the execution procedure now that the scheduled time has been missed.
The Pope’s letter references Pope John Paul II’s claim that capital punishment was allowable only in circumstances that were “very rare, if not practically non-existent.”
“Together with Pope Francis, I believe that a commutation of Mr. Glossip’s sentence would give clearer witness to the value and dignity of every person’s life, and would contribute to a society more cognizant of the mercy that God has bestowed upon us all,” Viganò writes.
British billionaire Richard Branson weighed in at the eleventh hour as well. In a statement published on Virgin’s website – as well as an Oklahoma paper – on Tuesday, Branson wrote, “Your State is about to kill a man who may well be completely innocent.”
Branson continued, claiming that “There is a breathtaking lack of evidence in this case – Richard’s conviction is largely based on the murderer’s testimony, the testimony of a man the State itself defines as ‘inherently suspect.’ “
Pleas from Pope Francis were not enough to halt the execution of Kelly Gissendaner, who was executed in Georgia earlier Wednesday in Georgia.
The Pope’s full letter is below, courtesy KWTV-News 9’s Justin Dougherty.