Jones’s family and supporters – a group that includes celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Russell Westbrook – have been pressuring Oklahoma’s Governor Kevin Stitt to commute the man’s sentence to life in prison, but so far Mr Stitt has not indicated he is considering a reversal. Mr Stitt is also facing international pressure after the European Union’s ambassador to the US penned a letter calling on him to stop the execution.
Jones, 41, has spent more than half of his life in prison after he was charged and convicted of the murder of Paul Howell during a 1999 carjacking. He has maintained that he is innocent of the crime and was framed by his then-friend and co-defendant, who allegedly actually shot Mr Howell.
The state has scheduled Jones to death by lethal injection, making him only the second prisoner to be executed since the state took a six year break from using the deadly drug concoction after a series of botched executions. The first person to be executed since the moratorium was lifted, a 60 year old inmate, convulsed and vomited during the execution, which raised further questions about the drugs.
Jones and his supporters have been visiting Mr Stitt’s office in the days leading up to the execution in an attempt to secure a meeting to discuss a stay of execution. ABC’s documentary The Last Defense explores Jones’ fight to avoid the death penalty and attracted the support of celebrities, especially those with ties to Oklahoma.
The race to spare Julius Jones from the death chamber
The 1999 murder of Paul Howell was senseless and sensational.
The killing, in front of his two young daughters, devastated his family and stunned the surrounding community. Hundreds of officers and heavily armed SWAT troops fanned out across the Oklahoma City suburbs, searching for two black teenagers accused of killing the prosperous white businessman during a carjacking.
Once police caught a suspect, 19-year-old Julius Jones, the state’s most prominent prosecutor and newspaper editorial board both called for the death penalty in a manner of days, well before all the facts had been established.
Eleanor Sly17 November 2021 12:15
Parole board members expressed doubts about evidence at start of month
Several members of the parole board said at a hearing in early November that they had doubts about the evidence.
“I continue to believe there is still doubt in this case,” board member Kelly Doyle said.
However, Richard Smothermon, a former prosecutor, said that he did not believe Jones’ account of the murder before going on to voted against clemency.
“To believe in Mr Jones’ theory of the case, you have to disbelieve every other piece of evidence in the case.” This would have to include physical evidence and testimony from law enforcement officers and independent witnesses, he said.
Eleanor Sly17 November 2021 11:32
Police barricade governor’s mansion as Oklahoma mulls Julius Jones execution
Oklahoma City police officers have begun erecting barricades around the governor’s mansion, the Black Times reported, as governor Kevin Stitt considers stopping the impending execution of controversial Oklahoma death row inmate Julius Jones.
The state parole board has twice recommended that Jones, sentenced to execution for the 1999 murder of Paul Howell, be removed from death row, citing doubts about his true guilt. The decision, however, ultimately rests with Governor Stitt, and the execution will take place on 18 November unless he elects to grant Jones clemency.
Eleanor Sly17 November 2021 10:35
Legal Defense Fund expresses views on Julius Jones case
The United States’ Legal Defense Fund, a civil rights law organisation, has indicated its stance on the Julius Jones.
Writing on Twitter they said:” There is powerful evidence that Julius Jones is innocent”
Eleanor Sly17 November 2021 09:45
Julius Jones: Family wait outside Oklahoma governor’s office in vain ahead of execution
The family of death row inmate Julius Jones waited in vain for hours on Monday outside the Oklahoma governor’s office in an attempt to make one final desperate plea ahead of the 41-year-old’s scheduled 18 November execution.
Jones, who has spent more than half of his life in prison, was convicted of the 1999 murder of Oklahoma City businessman Paul Howell, who was shot in front of his two young daughters. He was sentenced to death during the height of the “Tough on Crime” era. He has maintained his innocence since his arrest, when he was a 19-year-old University of Oklahoma student, insisting he was framed by a prosecution witness.
An Oklahoma parole board recommended that Jones’ sentence be commuted in disagreement with the Howell family and Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office. Jones’ execution is scheduled for lethal injection Thursday.
Eleanor Sly17 November 2021 08:57
Julius Jones’ family were still hoping for his release just two months ago
Julius Jones’ family were still hopeful that he would be freed when they spoke on ABC’s Nightline in September.
This came as the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board suggested that Jones’ sentence should be changed to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
At the time, Jones’ mother, Madeline Davis-Jones, said the parole board’s decision had given her renewed hope that her son would survive and she called the news “magical.”
Meanwhile, Jones’ sister said that she was hopeful he would be set free, saying that she could picture justice for her brother.
“Julius being able to feel the sun on his skin, the natural sun on his skin. It looks like him having no chains [on] when he gets to go outside,” she said. “It looks like freedom.”
Eleanor Sly17 November 2021 08:25
Kim Kardashian takes to Twitter to issue plea
Ahead of Julius Jones’ scheduled execution on Thursday, Kim Kardashian has taken to Twitter to express her feelings on the situation.
In an emotional post, the celebrity wrote: “At 9pm the day before his execution, #JuliusJones phone privileges will be terminated and he will receive his last meal.
“He will be checked on every 15 minutes for the last four hours of his life.
“Then, he will be put to death.”
Eleanor Sly17 November 2021 07:37
ICYMI: Kim Kardashian issues passionate anti-death penalty plea ahead of Julius Jones’ scheduled execution
One of Julius Jones most notable supporters has been reality television star and model Kim Kardashian. The celebrity penned a letter to Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt begging him not to execute Jones.
“This is the cold machinery of the death penalty,” Ms Kardashian wrote on her Twitter account, “an innocent man could be put to death. My heart breaks for Julius and so many others who have suffered from such tragic miscarriage of justice.”
The Independent’s Jade Bremner has more in her story below…
Graig Graziosi17 November 2021 04:30
Dozens of Julius Jones supporters prayed outside governor’s office
Dozens of people calling for Julius Jones to be granted clemency prayed outside the office of Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt on Tuesday evening.
Jones’ family and advocates had been camped outside the governor’s office hoping to get a moment to meet with him before he allows Jones to be executed on Thursday.
Graig Graziosi17 November 2021 03:00
Five Republican lawmakers in Oklahoma urge Governor Kevin Stitt to grant Julius Jones clemency
Five Republican lawmakers in Oklahoma previously urged Governor Kevin Stitt – also a Republican – to grant Julius Jones clemency. Jones is set to be executed on Thursday.
Reps. Kevin McDugle, Logan Phillips, John Talley, Garry Mize and Preston Stinson all called on Mr Stitt to grant Jones clemency. The latter two lawmakers represent parts of Edmond, where the killing of Paul Howell occurred in 1999.
“The last thing the state should be doing is taking the life of someone who may be innocent,” Mr Mize said in a news release. “There is too much doubt here, especially given that Julius Jones’ codefendant has confessed to being the real murderer. We can’t move forward with an execution under these circumstances in good conscience. I hope and pray Gov. Stitt accepts the recommendation of his Parole Board.”
Graig Graziosi17 November 2021 01:30