In 1999, at the age of 19, Julius Jones a black American was arrested for the murder of Paul Howell. Paul Howell was an Oklahoma businessman.
Since Julius’ conviction and sentencing in 2002, he has been on death row for over twenty years. However, Julius has maintained his stance of not being guilty.
The Battle For Jones’ Freedom
Throughout the years, Julius is not the only one who believes he was wrongfully convicted. His family and some supporters have contested his death sentence. They argue that there is strong evidence that proves his conviction was wrong.
Finally, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. On the 1st of November 2021, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended granting clemency to Julius. This clemency recommendation is vital because Julius is set to be executed on November 18.
According to reports by CNN, the board on Monday voted 3-1 recommending that Julius’ sentence should be commuted to life in prison including the possibility of parole. This recommendation might not have made Julius a freeman, nevertheless, he is now a hopeful man.
In the wake of this new sign of hope, Julius’ mother, Madeline Davis-Jones, in a statement through their attorney has this to say;
“My son Julius has been on death row for over twenty years for a murder he did not commit, and every day of that has been a waking nightmare for my family. I am grateful to the Pardon and Parole Board for again showing they are willing to listen to facts and reason, show compassion, and do what is in their power to right this terrible wrong. Now, I am asking Gov. Stitt to do the same by accepting their recommendation.”
Also, Amanda Bass, the lead counsel for Jones had this to say;
“The Pardon and Parole Board has now twice voted in favour of commuting Julius Jones’s death sentence, acknowledging the grievous errors that led to his conviction and death sentence. We hope that Governor Stitt will exercise his authority to accept the Board’s recommendation and ensure that Oklahoma does not execute an innocent man.”
Another Hurdle To Cross
However, although the board has given a recommendation, Gov. Kevin Stitt, has the ultimate say on Julius’ fate. The office of the Governor has informed CNN that Gov. Kevin Stitt was aware of the board’s recommendation but he will not be commenting further on the issue until he makes a final decision.
On the other side of the divide, the family of the murdered Paul Howell and the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, have opposed Julius’ claim of innocence and believe he is guilty. In 1999, Paul Howell was shot dead in his parent’s driveway. His sister and two young daughters were present when the horrific incident occurred.
Fingers are crossed as the final decision of Julius’s clemency lies in the hands of the governor of Oklahoma.
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