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Richard Glossip denied stay of execution: Will Supreme Court intervene?

After the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals rejected Richard Glossip's plea for a stay, his attorneys plan to appeal US Supreme Court for stay of execution.

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    Death row inmate Richard Glossip is pictured at the state penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., in November 2014. Mr. Glossip's attorneys said Monday that they will petition the Supreme Court to halt his execution, which is scheduled for Wednesday.
    Janelle Stecklein/Community Newspaper Holdings/AP
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Oklahoma's highest criminal court on Monday denied last-minute motions to stay the execution of Richard Glossip scheduled for Wednesday evening.

In a hearing Monday, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals rejected arguments that the court should halt Mr. Glossip's execution, sentenced to death for involvement in the 1997 murder of Barry Van Treese, the owner of the Best Budget Inn where Glossip worked as the resident manager.

Glossip's lawyers plan to appeal the Oklahoma court's ruling to the US Supreme Court, attorney Mark Henricksen said Monday.

"We anticipate filing a petition with the Supreme Court within the next 24 hours seeking a stay and further review," said Mr. Henricksen, according to the Associated Press.

His execution has been postponed twice this year, first in January after his lawyer challenged the use of experimental drug midazolam for executions arguing it would cause severe pain and suffering, then earlier this month after his attorneys filed what they said was new evidence that points to Justin Sneed, who is serving a life sentence, acting alone in Mr. Van Treese’s death.

At Monday’s hearing, the court ruled that the new evidence simply expands on theories that were already raised on Glossip's original appeals.

"None of the trial witnesses have recanted their testimony, and Glossip has presented no credible evidence that the witnesses gave falsified testimony at trial," Judge David Lewis wrote in his opinion. "Glossip's conviction is not based solely on the testimony of a co-defendant and the execution of the sentence will not violate the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution."

In a dissenting opinion, Presiding Judge Clancy Smith wrote that the court should grant a 60-day stay of execution and hold an evidentiary hearing.

"While finality of judgment is important, the state has no interest in executing an actually innocent man," Smith wrote. "An evidentiary hearing will give Glossip the chance to prove his allegations that Sneed has recanted, or demonstrate to the court that he cannot provide evidence that would exonerate him."

Judge Arlene Johnson also dissented, writing separately that she thought the original trial was "deeply flawed" and that an evidentiary hearing should be ordered.

This case has received national attention with opponents of capital punishment using Glossip’s case to highlight the risk of sentencing innocent people to death.

This report contains material from the Associated Press.

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