DEATH row inmate Julius Jones, whose claim of wrongful conviction has been heavily boosted by celebrities including Kim Kardashian, saw his case recommended for commutation today.
The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted three to one in favor of Jones’s sentence being commuted, with one member recusing himself from the vote.
Julius Jones was sentenced to death, and 40 years in prison, at only 22 years old[/caption]
The chairman of the board, Adam Luck, explained the board majority’s decision.
“I believe in death penalty cases there should be no doubt, and put simply, I have doubts in this case,” Luck said, as reported by NBC.
Because the case is a matter of “life and death,” the board recommended commutation of the death penalty, said Luck.
Now, the case goes to Governor Kevin Stitt’s desk for review, as Jones and his family wait to see if Jones is granted clemency.
“The governor takes his role in this process seriously and will carefully consider the Pardon and Parole Board’s recommendation as he does in all cases,” Stitt spokeswoman Carly Atchison said in a statement. “We will not have any further comment until the governor has made a decision.”
Jones was sentenced to death in 2002 for a murder he has consistently claimed he did not commit.
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As a 19-year-old student at the University of Oklahoma, he was considered the prime suspect in the killing of 45-year-old businessman Paul Howell.
Julius Jones was arrested and charged with murder in 1999 when Howell was shot in his 1997 GMC Suburban less than 20 miles away from Jones’ home.
Howell’s sister described the shooter as “a black man wearing a stocking cap” with “half an inch of hair hanging out,” his attorney Dale Baich told OU Daily in December 2019.
Despite a lack of evidence to directly connect Jones to Howell’s killing, he was sentenced to death and 40 years in prison in 2002.
“We have serious concerns by the way the evidence was collected, handled and stored,” Baich said, claiming that Jones was targeted by “self-proclaimed car thugs and a gang member.”
Julius Jones was a 19-year-old student when he was considered the prime suspect in the killing of 45-year-old businessman Paul Howell[/caption]
Jones was sentenced to death at just 22 years old.
In 2020, years after Jones dropped out of headlines, Kim Kardashian West helped bring his case back into the public eye.
Kardashian West made a trip to Oklahoma, where she met with Jones, his mother Madeline, and other family members.
The superstar drove her followers to the Change.org petition calling for clemency, saying: “Please help by asking the Board and @GovStitt to give careful and thoughtful consideration to his petition.”Kardashian West’s social media posts inspired NFL quarterback Baker Mayfield and NBA star Russell Westbrook to write letters to Oklahoma Gov Stitt in support of Jones’ clemency.
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