Two-Night Event Kicks off on Monday, April 17 at 9 PM ET/PT
on Investigation Discovery
For almost twenty years, two men convicted of murder – one on death row, and the other sentenced to life without parole – maintain two very different accounts of what led to the slaying of Barry Van Treese on January 7, 1997, at the Best Budget Inn in Oklahoma City. Richard Glossip, a man with no prior felony convictions, has consistently maintained his innocence, insisting that he had no knowledge that anyone planned to kill Van Treese. Justin Sneed, who admitted to killing the victim and whose fingerprints were found in the room, cut a deal for a life sentence instead of risking the death penalty by telling the police that Glossip hired him to do it.
Now, with cameras following Glossip’s case during what could be the final days of his life, “KILLING RICHARD GLOSSIP” tells this haunting story – that of a former motel manager sentenced to die for orchestrating a murder that he swears he had nothing to do with. “KILLING RICHARD GLOSSIP,” a world premiere two-night event, kicks off Monday, April 17 at 9/8c exclusively on ID.
Is the state of Oklahoma about to execute an innocent man? That chilling question is at the heart of this all-new real-time documentary series, created and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Joe Berlinger, who has dedicated his career to exposing abuses in the criminal justice system. Berlinger’s Academy Award®- nominated, Peabody-and Emmy®-winning Paradise Lost trilogy of documentaries famously helped lead to the release of one man from death row and two others from life in prison. Every second counts as Glossip sits on death row awaiting execution, and now Berlinger’s cameras are there with exclusive access to capture each moment as the clock ticks down. With support growing worldwide for Glossip, the docu-series also features interviews with high-profile supporters, including Academy Award®-winning actress Susan Sarandon, billionaire entrepreneur and social activist Richard Branson, and anti-death penalty activist and author Sister Helen Prejean (Dead Man Walking) who, at the eleventh hour, heroically pursued attorneys Don Knight and Mark Olive, convincing them to devote their time to the Glossip case pro-bono.
Van Treese’s body was found beaten and bloody on the floor of a room of the Oklahoma City motel that he owned, and that was managed by Glossip. But there are no DNA nor fingerprints from Glossip at the crime scene that tie him to his boss’ murder. Instead, Glossip’s death sentence is based primarily on the testimony of Justin Sneed, the motel maintenance man who was convicted of Van Treese’s murder and sentenced to life without parole. While Sneed admitted to killing Van Treese, he claims he did so under pressure from Glossip and for promise of payment. Before his two trials, the state of Oklahoma offered Glossip plea deals that would save his life, each of which he rejected, insisting upon his innocence.
Today, Glossip spends 23 hours a day, as he has for the past 20 years, fighting for his life from a tiny underground cell on death row, while Sneed is serving a life sentence at a medium security prison in Oklahoma. In 2015, Glossip was served his last meal on three separate occasions, only for Sister Helen Prejean, the United States Supreme Court, the work of his attorneys, and fate to intervene in each instance, staving off execution. During the state’s third attempt at killing Richard Glossip, Glossip paced back and forth in a cold cell wearing nothing but boxer shorts for 45 minutes after the time for his scheduled execution, only for the execution to be halted due to a lack of approved execution drugs. The state’s investigation into this botched execution attempt led to a moratorium on executions in Oklahoma. Once the details of a new protocol have been decided, Glossip will face a new execution date, which could come as early as this summer. As Glossip continues to skirt the edge of execution, Berlinger’s cameras are embedded with his legal team in real-time as the team races against the clock to uncover new evidence that proves his innocence.