The state parole board has twice recommended that Jones, sentenced to death for the murder of Paul Howell in 1999, be taken off death row, citing doubts about his true guilt. The decision, however, ultimately rests with Governor Stitt, and execution will take place on November 18, unless he decides to grant Jones clemency.
The independent has contacted the Oklahoma City Police Department and the governor’s office for comment.
The OKCPD said on social media on Tuesday that it had put up barriers to create a “safe place” for peaceful protests, at the request of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Family members and activists supporting Jones camped around the clock in the state capital, praying, singing and hoping to meet Governor Stitt as he considered authorizing the execution. So far, however, the governor has not addressed the group directly or spoken with Jones’ family, although religious leaders supporting Jones have met with officials in the governor’s office.
Instead, the governor would be in ” loneliness in prayer. »
A passionate innocence movement has grown around the Jones case in recent years, and leading supporters of the ‘Justice for Julius’ campaign have rallied to his defense as his execution date draws closer. including actor Mandy Patinkin and reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who visited Jones in prison.
“It is the cold machinery of the death penalty”, she said. wrote on Twitter Tuesday, “An innocent could be put to death. My heart breaks for Julius and for so many others who have suffered from such a tragic miscarriage of justice. “
Julius Jones has long maintained his innocence and alleges that systemic racism, flawed police work, jury bias, inexperienced public defenders and an unfair trial have put him behind bars for more than two decades for a crime that ‘he did not commit.
Meanwhile, the Howell family, as well as a number of former and current Oklahoma law enforcement officials, argue that the courts have identified the right killer and that Jones has had numerous legal remedies for prove his innocence, all of which failed. The murder weapon was found at Julius Jones’ home, wrapped in a bandana containing his DNA, although he claims his co-accused placed the weapon there and the DNA test is inconclusive.
Jones is one of many on death row from Oklahoma in a lawsuit challenging the state’s execution process as unconstitutionally cruel, arguing that his lethal injection drugs don’t do enough to calm people down before he they are not executed.
In the summer of 2020, Oklahoma City hosted large, peaceful Black Lives Matter protests as well as riots following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The independent and the association Responsible business initiative for justice (RBIJ) have launched a joint campaign calling for an end to the death penalty in the United States. The RBIJ has drawn more than 150 well-known signatories to its statement from business leaders against the death penalty – with The Independent as last on the list. We join top executives like Ariana Huffington, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson on this initiative and are committed to highlighting the injustices of the death penalty in our coverage. .