Interrogation video seen for first time since controversial conviction
It is the video that a jury never saw; a video interrogation with the star witness whose testimony sent Richard Glossip to death row.
The video has been in the possession of the various attorneys for Glossip, but was never shown in court. His new attorneys say that was one of many mistakes made during his initial representation.
The video shows a 19-year-old Justin Sneed after he was arrested by Oklahoma City police on a murder charge. The police make it clear they have the evidence and witnesses to connect Sneed to the murder of Barry Van Treese. Sneed denies the charge, but talks about his life working at the Best Budget Motel for Glossip.
At the time of the interview, Sneed doesn't even know Glossip's full name, and told detectives he was a good guy who he got along with.
Related: Watch the entire Justin Sneed interrogation here.
However the police officers tell Sneed repeatedly they believe he was not alone in the crime. They tell him things will "go better" for him if he cooperates and gives them information about who else was involved. The police interrogators finally tell Sneed, after half an hour of no luck getting him to confess, they have arrested Richard Glossip as an accomplice.
"Whose idea was it?," the detectives can be heard asking, "Was it all your idea; the whole thing?"
Sneed answers, "No sir."
"OK, then tell me about it," the detective said.
"Rich [Glossip] told me, he would uh steal what money and we could get out of Barry, I think that's his name was Barryand uh, he come and woke me up at like 3:00 in the morning and told me that Barry had just gotten back. And he told me he knew where the money was and he told me that he was sitting on like $7,000 and uh, so we went into the room."
As his confession progressed, Sneed said Glossip was never in the room at the time of the murder, but that the plan was just to "knock out" Van Treese to steal his car keys. However Sneed said he alone carried out the murder with a baseball bat he had found while cleaning rooms at the motel. He told police he even went back in after the initial attack to make sure Van Treese was not getting up. "I come back in there and he was down on the floor and I tapped him a couple of more times and he quit movingI figured he was knocked out," Sneed said.
Sneed would go on to tell police he only found $4,000, which he had to split with Glossip. However, more than $20,000 would be found untouched in Van Treese's car. Sneed's testimony during trial would change and become more elaborate. He eventually testified the offer from Glossip was $10,000 for the murder.
Sneed also told detectives his brother, who was staying with him at the motel for a time, originally crafted a plot to steal from the motel. Sneed said his brother approached Glossip about the plan to call in a robbery to cover up the crime. Sneed said his brother's plan was never carried out because his brother turned himself into Texas authorities on an outstanding warrant. He said Glossip never pressed him for details about the plot. After Van Treese's body was discovered Glossip told police Sneed had approached him about that very plot to steal money while making it appear to be a robbery.
Sneed also told police Glossip helped him clean up following the murder and went into the hotel room to hang up a shower curtain over the inside of a broken window. Police never found any physical evidence linking Glossip to the murder scene, but did find physical evidence to prove Sneed was the murderer.
At one point the interrogators ask Sneed if he was telling the truth, to which he replied, "pretty much."
After agreeing to help police Sneed asked detectives, "Is this going to help me at all?" The detective replied "We'll just have to wait and see. It's definitely going to be better for you this way than it would if you didn't say anything."
Prosecutors agreed to give Sneed life in prison if he testified against Glossip.