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Julius Jones, Oklahoma Man Facing Execution After Being Convicted Of Murder 20 Years Ago, Recommended For Clemency

Julius Jones, an Oklahoma man who is scheduled to be executed on Nov.18 after being convicted of killing a businessman two decades ago, was recommended for clemency by the state Pardon and Parole Board in a clemency hearing on Monday, KOCO reports.

The clemency hearing was set for Monday, CNN reports. During the hearing, the board voted 3-1, with one person recusing themselves. The board also suggested commuting his sentence to life with the possibility of parole. 

“The Pardon and Parole Board has now twice voted in favor of commuting Julius Jones’s death sentence, acknowledging the grievous errors that led to his conviction and death sentence,” Jones’ lawyer, Amanda Bass, said in a news release. “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.”

Jones, who is accused of killing 45-year-old businessman Paul Howell, has continued to maintain his innocence for more than 20 years, Blavity previously reported. According to Jones’ clemency petition, there are “fundamental breakdowns in the system,” including inexperienced defense attorneys, racial bias among the jury, and prosecutorial misconduct.

The parole board, which lead the hearing on Monday, is the same one that recommended for Jones to be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who holds the ultimate decision for clemency, said he will not make a decision based on the board’s recommendation.

“I am not accepting the Pardon and Parole Board’s recommendation to commute the sentence of Julius Jones,” Stitt wrote. “A clemency hearing, not a commutation hearing, is the appropriate venue for our state to consider death row cases.”

Howell’s daughter, Rachel, said the defendant and his team “want people to believe that Julius Jones is completely innocent, despite the overwhelming amount of evidence against him.”

“We are hoping at the clemency hearing this Monday that the Pardon and Parole Board view all sides of this case and make a fair and unbiased decision,” she said.

Three suspects were interviewed by police after Howell was shot in his car less than 20 miles away from Jones’ home in 1999. Jones and Christopher Jordan, a high school acquaintance who the attorneys say is the shooter, were both charged in the shooting.

Jordan, who was told that he would serve 30 years in exchange for his testimony, walked free after serving half of that time. Jones filed for clemency in Oct. 2019.

“As God is my witness, I was not involved in any way in the crimes that led to Paul Howell being shot and killed,” his clemency report stated. “I have spent the past 20 years on death row for a crime I did not commit, did not witness and was not at.”

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