‘Killing Richard Glossip’ Sheds Light On Controversial Oklahoma Death Sentence

There are two very different accounts of how Barry Van Treese came to die inside room 102 of the Oklahoma Best Budget Inn. What we know for certain is that on the night of 7 January 1997, handyman Justin Sneed bludgeoned the owner of the motel chain with a baseball bat. Autopsy reports show that Van Treese’s death was slow and painful. Once arrested, Sneed claimed he was paid to kill Van Treese by motel manager Richard Glossip. However, Glossip maintains his innocence and firmly denies any involvement in his boss’s slaying. Both men are now behind bars. Sneed is serving life without parole, but Glossip, thanks largely to the killer’s ever-changing version of events, currently awaits execution on death row. All his legal appeals have been exhausted. In three decades Glossip has received a stay for execution three times, and now his latest execution date could be as soon as the summer of 2017. The only hope for Glossip is that new and compelling evidence will clear his name.

Don Knight speaking to Richard Glossip.

A new series, ‘Killing Richard Glossip’ is set to hit the screens of Investigation Discovery tonight, delving into the controversial case where a man’s life hangs in the balance. Don Knight, Glossip’s lawyer, along with documentary film maker Joe Berlinger review the case, which has attracted the support of anti-death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean, (author of ‘Dead Man Walking’) Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon, and billionaire entrepreneur and social activist Richard Branson. The four-part series is a gripping insight into a controversial case, which is embroiled in scandal and questionable decisions made by the state of Oklahoma. With exclusive access to Glossip as he sits behind bars, Berlinger manages to speak to him about how his case spiraled out of control. Sneed is also interviewed from his medium security prison, giving viewers a flavour of the man who the state based their allegations against Glossip, on.


Justin Sneed sits down for his interview.

Those who loved ‘Making A Murderer’ will find ‘Killing Richard Glossip’ to be an even bigger controversy. It is a knuckle biting series that will tug at your heartstrings. Looking at the case as an outsider, you get the distinct impression that Glossip, who had never had so much as a parking ticket in his life, became a victim of a ruthless system. It’s unlikely we’ll ever really know what really happened that night. There are a small number of people who believe Glossip is guilty and certainly the state deems him so. His story is told through the eyes of memorable characters, from the somewhat questionable cops who interviewed Sneed and Glossip, to the journalists who watched the trials unfold, as well as the incompetent lawyer who first represented him at trial. Thanks to their experiences of the high-profile case, the show is a fresh wake up call as to how the criminal justice system can and has many a time, made fatal mistakes and at times attempted to cover them up. The question is: is Glossip a manipulative criminal mastermind, or an innocent man fast approaching murder at the hands of a state that failed him?


KILLING RICHARD GLOSSIP premieres exclusively in the UK on Investigation Discovery, 10pm, Monday 19th June (Sky 522, Virgin 170, BT 324)