1 Oct 2015

Wrong drugs ordered for Oklahoma execution

6:33 pm on 1 October 2015

A man convicted of ordering the murder of his boss has had his execution postponed at the very last minute, due to uncertainty over the lethal drugs.

Anti-death penalty activists rally outside the US Supreme Court in a final attempt to prevent the execution of Oklahoma inmate Richard Glossip on 29 September in Washington, DC.

Anti-death penalty activists rally outside the US Supreme Court on 29 September in a final attempt to prevent Richard Glossip's execution. Photo: AFP

Richard Glossip looked certain to die by injection in Oklahoma on Wednesday afternoon after the US Supreme Court rejected his appeal.

Death row inmate Richard Glossip has maintained his innocence for nearly 20 years.

Richard Glossip Photo: AFP

But Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has asked for more time to check if the drugs are compliant with state rules.

Pope Francis had urged her to halt the execution.

His archbishop had written to her and urged her to act to commute the sentence, but she said she did not have the authority to do so.

An hour after Glossip was due to be put to death, Ms Fallin announced that she was rescheduling the execution for 6 November.

She said prison officials had received potassium acetate for use in the execution, as one of the three drugs used, but state guidelines only list potassium chloride.

Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton said he requested the stay of execution "out of due diligence".

Glossip's boss Barry Van Treese, the owner of an Oklahoma City motel, was beaten to death in 1997.

His colleague Adam Sneed was convicted of the killing but said Glossip had ordered him to carry it out.

Glossip and his family have maintained his innocence for nearly 20 years, saying that Sneed acted alone.

He was first convicted in 1998 but that was overturned in 2001, only for Glossip to be convicted again three years later.

In the most recent appeals, his lawyers said they had an affidavit from another inmate who said Sneed admitted to setting Glossip up.

British billionaire Richard Branson took out a full-page ad in The Oklahoman newspaper on Wednesday that argued Glossip is innocent.

- BBC

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