Oklahoma Gov. Grants Clemency To Julius Jones Hours Before Scheduled Execution Amid Public Pressure

Photo: Oklahoma Department of Corrections / Getty
Kim Kardashian is Fighting for Julius Jones’ Clemency

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has granted clemency to Julius Jones hours before his scheduled execution.

 Jones was sentenced to death when he was 19 and was scheduled to be executed on Thursday Nov. 18 at 4pm.

Intense public pressure from celebrities and the people of Oklahoma likely pushed the governor to reconsider the planned execution.

Kim Kardashian posted a series of Tweets on Tuesday after Gov. Stitt denied a meeting with Jones’ mother on Monday afternoon. Kardashian had previously met Jones last year and tweeted what Jones' last days would entail if he were to be executed. 

“This is the cold machinery of the Death Penalty in America. In just over two weeks, 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” Kardashian tweeted. 

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Fortunately, the governor granted Jones clemency at the last moment. His sentence will be commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the governor said in an executive order issued Thursday.

What did Julius Jones do?

Jones has said he was set up by the actual killer who was an acquaintance. According to the Innocence Project, Jones did not match the description of the sole eyewitness who said the man had 1-2 inches of hair — Jones was bald. 

A man named Christopher Jordan matched the eyewitness’ hair description but claimed only to be the getaway driver. In exchange for testifying against Jones, Jordan was given a plea deal for his role in the murder. He served fifteen years and now walks free.

However, three people who were in jail with Jordan have said in sworn affidavits that Jordan told them that he committed the murder and framed Jones.

None of the men have met Jones and they do not know one another. And none of them have been offered a shorter sentence or incentive in exchange for disclosing information.

Paul Howell's family have stated, however, that they believe Jones is guilty

Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board voted 3-1 to recommend Jone’s sentence be commuted to life in prison with the possibility of parole now. However, the recommendation now goes to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt for final decision. 

This is the last chance for Jones, after he had lost a federal appeals court this month to temporarily suspend the executions. 

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There was likely racial bias in the case.

Howell was a white man who was shot in a predominantly white neighborhood. District Attorney Bob Macy described the crime as an act of violence committed by Black men and fueled by drugs. This sentiment was largely picked up by media coverage. 

Also, the police officer who arrested Jones called him the n-word and dared him to run and then implied he would shoot him if he did. 

Similarly, from the 11 out of 12 white jurors on the trial, one of them referred to Jones by the same slur and suggested he be shot behind the courthouse. 

One-third of the District Attorney Macy’s death penalty convictions have been overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct. 

If you would like to take action you can sign the petition or make donations to Justice for Julius

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Sydney Taylor is a writer who focuses on News and Entertainment topics.