The governor has commuted the death penalty to life imprisonment, for 20 years the convict has pleaded innocent. Many personalities had mobilized in his favor
Oklahoma Governor Republican Kevin Stitt pardoned death row inmate Julius Jones at the last minute, commuting his sentence to life in prison (PDF). In prison for almost 20 years, the African American Jones has always said he was innocent and many personalities had mobilized in his favor. The pardon comes after the controversy over John Grant’s agony at the end of October, who died after repeated convulsions caused by the first three drugs of lethal injection, in the first execution in six years in Oklahoma.
Jones, 41, was sentenced to death for the 1999 murder of an insurer, Paul Howell, during an armed attack on his car. But he always proclaimed his innocence. He was accused by an acquaintance, Christopher Jordan, who confessed to the crime and received a sentence discount. Doubts about the Jones case were raised in 2018 by the ABC television documentary “The Last Defense”. Since then, several personalities, such as Kim Kardashian, but also well-known basketball players have come to her defense. More than six million people around the world have signed a petition for Jones and the EU ambassador, Stavros Lambrinidis, wrote a letter to Governor Stitt.
In Oklahoma the competent committee of the Pardon and Parole Board had recently recommended a pardon to the governor. And several Republican deputies from the state parliament had lined up in Jones’s favor. Last week, dozens of Oklahoma University students demonstrated for Jones.