Surviving Execution

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

Well-written, though self-promoting.

There are 3 issues being discussed in the book:
1) Death-row penalty, treatment of prisoner leading up to execution date & whether the manner of execution is humane or not.
2) Glossip's guilt or innocence.
3) Ian Woods."

1) Whether you believe Glossip or not ( or the true level / nature of his culpability in the murder), Woods retelling of the trial & the issues surrounding the death penalty makes for real scary stuff. What IS intriguing is the death penalty matter (especially humaneness of it, pain / drugs debate, type of crime fitting such a sentence, etc.) and everyone's take on it. Midazolam: sedate; Rocuronium Bromide: paralyze; Potassium Chloride: stop heart.

Executioner's interview is interesting. (the executioner Woods spoke to is Randall Workman, and he was a warden when 31 were men and 1 woman had been executed -years of service unknown)

- Documentary 'Fourteen Days in May' (1987) is quoted - Woods is a fan of Clive Stafford Smith.
- Joe Berlinger who made 'Paradise Lost' (1996) on RobinHood Hills murders also made a documentary on Glossip's case: 'Killing Richard Glossip' (2016).
- Special appearances by Susan Sarandon and Richard Branson.

2) Given the fact that Glossip didn't actually deliver the blows, he probably should have gotten life. But law is law. Also, I can relate to lawyers not doing their job, but I think evidence shows Glossip to be guilty / involved, even if he wasn't. I don't see why manager of a hotel would not bat even an eyelid when someone whom he hired & is close to, comes & declares he has killed the owner & instead just goes shopping next morning to raise money for his girlfriend's breast implants! Besides, why should anyone believe Glossip when he lies at all critical points? The fact that motel got hookers, drug dealers & junkies is all the more reason to say something. He probably thought Sneed would get rid of the body somewhere else, just like the car. Unless their plan was to pin it like 'we don't know what happened, maybe a junkie or stripper robbed him.’ State went for death because father of 5 got murdered. I'm sorry but Glossip even lied about the owner going repair-tools shopping that morning - and he told plenty of people. This isn't just about Sneed implicating him - it's Glossip's own actions that got him into trouble & I'm shocked no one has told him that in 18 years. Judicial system is unfair but he refused plea deals guaranteeing life - & someone must have told him about Oklahoma's death penalty record  and subsequent convictions on murder charges. Especially when he didn't get off the first time and no new corroborating evidence or witnesses (for his side) were there for the second one. It's sad that no one other than Kim Van Atta took Glossip's last phone call (before third-time scheduled execution).

3) Ian Woods suffers from a sense of self-importance.  I cannot believe he didn't talk to Glossip's family (kids, parents, 16 siblings!) before meeting one of his daughters 24 hrs. before execution outside prison! I'm sorry but he comes across as full of himself, suffering from 'Me, Me, Me Syndrome' and not much of a journo. “The worlds of news and celebrity were colliding.” - Woods writes. He cannot get more ridiculously unprofessional. I think he would have taken Glossip to the chamber himself, if need be. The glee he shows when someone notices or quotes him & the power & accolades he thinks he has & the petty fights he has with Glossip's supporters & the approval he seeks from the dead man walking or his ultimate quarrel with Glossip over the book rights. Totally full of himself. This isn't journalism. On pg. 192, 24 hours before execution, Woods is having a look - for the first time in 9 months - at crime scene evidence! At the 2nd execution, in the box next to the chamber, while waiting for Glossip to arrive for the execution, Woods is 'fretting' over what is holding up the execution!

Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.
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I really flew through this book and would highly recommend it to all fans of true crime, and also those who like to stay up to date on current events. It was well written, incredibly researched, and contained very in-depth interviews with the subject himself: Richard Glossip.

I was super excited about this book because I've been following the Richard Glossip case ever since the ID channel aired a special series about him in 2017 that had me glued to the TV. I'm a major true crime buff and thought that I would find him to be guilty... but I didn't. I've been wanting to learn everything I can about the case ever since, and this book really assisted with that. It went in depth about the trials, appeals, and everything in between. The author spoke to Richard a great deal too, and I was able to really see how the trials and everything else went so horribly wrong.

Before you think this book is only for people who are trying to abolish the death penalty, think again and don't write it off based on your beliefs. Woods goes the extra mile to try and hear arguments on both sides of the coin. In this case, Richard did not physically kill the victim. Another man confessed to the killing, but claimed that Richard encouraged him to do it... and he said all this only after being coerced to during police interviews. Not only did Richard not kill anyone, I don't believe he had anything to do with the plot to kill him either. How can he be put to death for this? I have no answers, and cases like this make me question my beliefs surrounding capital punishment.

All in all, this was a fascinating look into a very absurd case. It's extremely informative and a must read, in my opinion.
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Richard Glossip is either an innocent man on death row, or an evil man who masterminded a brutal murder.  The author presents a strong case for the former- that Glossip has been wrongly convicted, and is part of the 4% of US inmates who are incarcerated in error.
The book details the years of appeals and last minute stays of execution endured by Richard Glossip.
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Ian Woods, a reporter for Sky News, came across the case of Richard Glossip and was blown away by what was happening in America. Unlike the states, the UK does not have a death penalty and he could not fathom how someone could be wrongly convicted. Glossip was convicted on the word of Justin Sneed, the man who admitted to the murder. There was no DNA evidence, no eyewitnesses, nothing showing that Glossip was a murder. Woods wanted to bring attention to Glossip's case and met with Glossip's friends, family, and biggest supporters to write his stories. Everyone starting paying attention to the case when the state of Oklahoma started having lawsuits brought on them about cruel and unusual punishment since death sentences were being botched. Ian Woods brings the facts in this book about the case and gives a look at Richard Glossip and how anyone could be sitting on death row because just because someone pointed the finger at you.
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Surviving Execution: A Miscarriage of Justice and the Fight to End the Death Penalty by Ian Woods, is another timely subject about the death penalty/ execution. It seems to be a hot topic lately with states struggling to find a tolerable cocktail of drugs that will work in an effective manner to kill the death row inmates, be easily obtainable and pass muster with the courts and lawyers and everyone involved.  A new one recently was approved and used for the first time as part of a cocktail that is an opioid, Fentanyl (Etomidate) was used by Florida in August to execute Mark Asay and it remains to be seen if others will now follow suit and begin using it too.  Etomidate replaced midazolam, which became harder to acquire after many drug companies began refusing to provide it for executions. 
This book has reporter Ian Woods of London’s Sky News following the story of convicted murderer Richard Glossip, sitting on Oklahoma‘s Death Row as his case makes its way through various levels of appeals etc.  Then at one point,  he gets his case overturned and is granted a new trial, but then despite having a decent attorney this time around, is convicted all over again.  He finds himself right back on Death Row again and his only hope now seems to be clemency or a stay due to the problems with the death cocktail issues.  Likely of interest to true crime or death penalty readers.  This was quite an interesting book for the times.  My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by #netgalley, author Ian Woods, and the publisher for my fair review. 

Atlantic Books
Pub date: Sept. 1st, 2018
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