09.13.2017 by @WinterwoodGrace
In January of 1997, Barry Van Treese was found murdered his room at the Best Budget Inn, a hotel he owned in Oklahoma City. Justin Sneed, the hotel maintenance man, admits he was the person that used a baseball bat to brutally beat Van Treese to death. Beyond that, facts, details, and evidence become rather murky. The investigation appears to have been suspect based even before Barry Van Treese’s body was found. Initially, he was reported as missing, and suspicion began centering on Richard Glossip, the hotel manager, while searching for signs of Mr. Van Treese. Although initially Glossip did not point to Justin Sneed as a possible perpetrator, he eventually related to law enforcement his account of what happened that night in relation to Justin Sneed. By this time, Sneed had disappeared from the property, and wasn’t found for a week. Ultimately, Sneed confessed and was arrested for the murder of Barry Van Treese. A week later, he implicated Richard Glossip as the mastermind, claiming he was the unwitting victim in a murder-for-hire scheme orchestrated by Glossip. In exchange for a lighter sentence, Sneed agreed to testify against Glossip. The end result was life imprisonment for Just Sneed in a medium-security prison, a death sentence for Richard Glossip, and a pervading sense that justice had not been served in this case.
In an interview given by Justin Sneed to The Frontier in 2015, Sneed expands his account yet again, something that has become the norm any time he speaks about the case. However, if you disregard everything Justin Sneed says about the murder and the involvement of Glossip during this interview, a rather disturbing trend comes to light. He briefly discusses problems he had before moving to Oklahoma, as a young impressionable 19 year old boy. He claims he was coerced by friends in a bad crowd, he claims he was coerced by his girlfriend, and he never once takes any responsibility for a single thing he has done wrong. Throughout, he continues to point out that he was a young impressionable boy being taken advantage of. Further, he doesn’t feel that he should still be in prison, because it wasn’t his fault that he was pressured into killing a man. There is no show of remorse for the death of Mr. Van Treese, and no horror at his own actions. Just the constant drum beat of victim mentality at the unfairness of it all. This is who the state of Oklahoma decided to make a deal with. A remorseless murderer. Regardless of any truth to the allegations of coercion, this is the only man that swung the bat, killing Barry Van Treese. Medium security prison. Life without parole.
The state wanted Richard Glossip for this murder, and this is what they gave in order to get him. To be sure, Glossip’s behavior was questionable during the investigation, and he too appears to have changed his story at times. The question of Richard Glossip’s guilt or innocence is not the point here. That is a battle for courts and lawyers, as we the public don’t have enough information to make that decision. The known facts are that there was no physical evidence tying Glossip to the actual act. He didn’t swing the bat. He has been convicted of orchestrating this murder, planning it, and setting events in motion to see his plan carried out. But he did not swing the bat. Richard Glossip was given the death penalty, not once but twice. He is currently on borrowed time, as executions have been halted in Oklahoma for the foreseeable future. That doesn’t mean he won’t eventually be executed. It simply means he won’t be executed today. The halt on executions could be lifted at any time, and Glossip could receive a new date for his execution. Without digging any further into this case, these facts alone make the execution of Richard Glossip questionable. Disturbing on it’s face, the state’s assertion that a mastermind should die, while a murderer should live is beyond reasonable comprehension. Especially when you consider that this occurred in Oklahoma City, a place beleaguered with scandal and claims of corruption. The legacies of Joyce Gilchrist and Bob Macy live on, and the city is still under clouds of suspicion, not trusted by many that work or reside there.
This is not justice for Barry Van Treese or his family. This is merely a case of let’s-execute-someone and call it justice. Justice would have been a proper investigation into his death. Justice would have answered some of the many unanswered questions in this case, rather than creating more unanswered questions. Justice most certainly would not have made a deal with the devil in order to capture a different criminal. Remember though, that investigators liked Richard Glossip for this murder from the start, before they even knew there was a murder. That should scare anyone. Oklahoma City has developed quite the reputation for shoddy police work, and suspected misconduct in the prosecutor’s office. That alone should warrant a fresh look from outside eyes into the case of Richard Glossip. If he is as guilty as they claim, they should welcome those eyes, and stand strictly on the merits of their case. That hasn’t happened so far, and many suspect it never will. Nobody can know what the future holds for Richard Glossip, but ask yourself honestly, does he deserve to die while Justin Sneed lives? Is that really justice? Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t.
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