His story is the subject of a four-part documentary series called Killing Richard Glossip. And his case caught the attention of Hollywood stars like Susan Sarandon and Mark Ruffalo, but also Pope Francis or billionaire Richard Branson. Richard Glossip, 60, who was to be executed by lethal injection on May 18 in Oklahoma, was granted a stay by the United States Supreme Court on Friday May 5.

The highest court in the country has put the execution on hold, the time for it to examine the case. It was the conservative state’s attorney general, a Republican, who asked the court, in an unusual way, to stay the execution, citing issues of trial fairness.

In his report, the minister writes that the state has “reached the difficult but crucial conclusion that Glossip’s death sentence is untenable and that a new trial is imperative.”

The detainee, who claims his innocence, was found guilty of having ordered in 1997 the murder of the owner of a motel which he managed, on the basis of a very controversial testimony. He is accused of recruiting a 19-year-old man, Justin Sneed, who confessed to the homicide.

Intervention of the pope

Supporters of Richard Glossip denounce the fact that his conviction was based on the sole testimony of Justin Sneed. However, by pleading guilty and involving Richard Glossip, Justin Sneed was able to negotiate life imprisonment, instead of the death penalty.

Already in 2015, when his execution seemed imminent, Richard Glossip had obtained a reprieve, after the intervention of the Vatican. Pope Francis’ representative in the United States had written to the governor of Oklahoma at the time asking him to stay the execution.