Oklahoma governor commutes Julius Jones’ death sentence, hours before execution

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OKLAHOMA Town (NewsNation Now) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt commuted Julius Jones’ sentence to existence with out the probability of parole hours just before he was scheduled to get a deadly injection Thursday.

Gov. Stitt released the following statement pertaining to his conclusion:

“After prayerful consideration and examining products offered by all sides of this scenario, I have established to commute Julius Jones’ sentence to daily life imprisonment with out the risk of parole.”

Jones experienced proclaimed his innocence from demise row for much more than two a long time in the 1999 killing of a suburban Oklahoma Metropolis businessman.

The state’s Pardon and Parole Board recommended in a 3-1 vote on Nov. 1 that Stitt commute Jones’ sentence to daily life in jail, with a number of users of the panel agreeing they had uncertainties about the proof that led to Jones’ conviction.

Lawyers for Jones filed a past-minute, emergency request Thursday afternoon trying to find a short term halt to his execution. The request mentioned Oklahoma’s deadly injection strategies publish a “serious and considerable danger of critical struggling and soreness to prisoners” and cited final month’s execution in which John Marion Grant convulsed and vomited as he was currently being set to death.

“This movement is staying submitted now admittedly on the working day of Julius Jones’s execution. However, it is well timed underneath situation wherever the Governor has not acted on the clemency advice that, if accepted, would have obviated the require for this motion being submitted in search of crisis reduction now as it relates to Julius Jones.”

Jones, 41, was convicted in the taking pictures demise of Paul Howell, a father in the affluent Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond, for the duration of a carjacking. Jones maintains he was framed by the genuine killer, a significant college close friend and co-defendant who testified against him and was produced from jail immediately after 15 decades.

Jones’ mother, Madeline Davis-Jones, who tried unsuccessfully to meet up with with Stitt on Monday, spoke to a team of about 300 men and women, quite a few of them college students from nearby substantial universities, who collected at the Capitol on Wednesday outside Stitt’s business, chanted and sang hymns.

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“I really don’t want to go to a lynching tomorrow,” Davis-Jones mentioned, her voice climbing with emotion. “Why would I want to see anyone hang? We need to be through with that. Do you want your baby, your youngster to be hanged?”

Stitt experienced been restricted-lipped about the scenario, but has achieved with Jones’ lawyers and Howell’s family.

Condition and county prosecutors said the proof from Jones was too much to handle. Trial transcripts confirmed witnesses discovered Jones as the shooter and positioned him with Howell’s stolen car. Investigators also observed the murder weapon wrapped in a bandanna with Jones’ DNA in an attic house over his bedroom. Jones claims the murder weapon was positioned there by the precise killer, who visited Jones’ residence right after Howell was shot.

Paul Howell’s sister, Megan Tobey, testified prior to the board that she distinctly remembers looking at Jones shoot her brother in front of his two younger daughters.

“He is the exact same man or woman today as he was 22 many years back. He’s nevertheless acquiring into difficulties,” Tobey claimed in element. “He’s nonetheless lying. And he however feels no disgrace, guilt or regret for his motion. We need Julius Jones to be held accountable.”

Jones’ circumstance was profiled in “The Previous Protection,” a 3-episode documentary developed by actress Viola Davis that aired on ABC in 2018. Considering that then, Kim Kardashian West and athletes with Oklahoma ties, such as Mayfield and NBA stars Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin and Trae Younger, urged Stitt to commute Jones’ demise sentence.

Oklahoma ended a 6-12 months moratorium on executions — brought on by problems above its deadly injection approaches — very last thirty day period. John Marion Grant, 60, convulsed and vomited as he was currently being put to dying Oct. 28. Jones’ execution would be the second given that the moratorium was lifted.

This story is acquiring. Refresh for updates.

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