In what appears to be a remarkably brazen attempt to intimidate two witnesses who have offered sworn testimony that a man about to be executed is in fact innocent, it seems that Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater’s office arranged for two men to be arrested and the suspension of their DUIs revoked after they offered affidavits in the quickly deteriorating Richard Glossip case.
According to KTUL.com, the ABC affiliate in Tulsa, Michael Scott and Joseph Tapley where arrested separately last week, the day after Glossip’s attorneys filed the two men’s affidavits in the case.
Both Scott and Tapley claimed in their new, sworn testimony that they heard the central witness and confessed murderer of the victim in the Glossip case, Justin Sneed, say “he set Glossip up,” by testifying that Glossip had paid him to perform the killing. Sneed received a life sentence; Glossip is scheduled to be executed Wednesday.
Glossip’s attorneys filed papers with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals saying Michael Scott had been arrested last week at gunpoint on a probation violation, and that the suspension of his DUI has been revoked. According to the filings, Scott was then taken handcuffed to an interrogation room in Rogers County, and questioned not by that county’s DA, but by Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, the man overseeing the state’s effort to execute Glossip.
KTUL.com has now confirmed much of this claim.
We asked Rogers County District Attorney Matt Ballard if the motion to revoke Scott’s suspended DUI sentence was requested by Oklahoma County…Eventually Ballard admitted his office did receive a call from Oklahoma County. “I never spoke directly with Mr. Prater, it is my understanding they contacted us earlier this week,” regarding Scott’s whereabouts.
Claremore Deputy Police Chief Charles Downum, one of the arresting officers, also confirmed to KTUL.com that the arrest was, indeed, made at gunpoint.
As for Joseph Tapley,
Online court records show Tuesday, the day after the new affidavits were filed, Oklahoma County prosecutors also filed to revoke the suspended DUI sentence for Tapley. The motion says Tapley failed to comply with the rules of probation, but there are no violation reports mentioned in online court records prior to the revocation request.
While state authorities have claimed there was nothing unusual about the arrest of Scott and Tapley for probation violations, this appears to be false. Their arrests came within twenty-four hours of their offering evidence of the innocence of a man scheduled to be executed in a high-profile case that same week. In Smith’s case, at least, he was then interrogated about everything from his own drug use to the behavior of his mother.
To any fair observer, it would seem clear what is transpiring here: Oklahoma, having notoriously botched its last two executions, is using its police power to intimidate witnesses who suggest the man it is trying to resume its execution schedule with is in fact innocent of the charges against him.
This would be a stunning misuse of prosecutorial power, and given the urgency of the case, should be investigated thoroughly and immediately.