Gov. Kevin Stitt has commuted Julius Jones’ death sentence to life without the possibility of parole, KOCO reports.
Jones, 41, sits on death row after being found guilty for the fatal shooting of Howell during a carjacking in Edmond, Oklahoma, in 1999. He has since preserved his innocence, yet Jones was slated for execution on Thursday.
Antoinette Jones, Julius’ sister, sat outside the governor’s office with influential leaders for her brother’s benefit only to be told that Stitt was out of reach for face-to-face communication.
Oklahoma plans to execute #JuliusJones on Thursday despite a parole board twice recommending the governor grant him clemency.
Jones says he was framed for a 1999 murder. Legal experts say he did not match witness descriptions, his alibi was ignored and a juror called him a slur. pic.twitter.com/paOi04ZE7q
— AJ+ (@ajplus) November 18, 2021
“I am here on behalf of my family,” she said. “I feel like if he [Stitt] can meet with the Howell family, then he can definitely meet with the Jones family.”
“As citizens of Oklahoma, he is for the people, not just for certain particular people,” Antoinette said, adding that “[Stitt] said he was going to make a decision swiftly. I’m just wondering what ‘swift’ means to me. We’re asking that he takes the recommendation of his pardon and parole board.” She added,” That’s why I’m here today.”
Bishop T.D. Jakes took aim at Stitt’s humanity, asking for Julius’ sentence to be commuted in a letter.
In his letter, he asked for Stitt to give Julius another opportunity to live his life as a free man.
“While this case has garnered national attention, it is not from that outcry that I appeal to you today, but one of genuine concern for this individual case and the loss that has ensued,” he wrote.
Jakes sent another letter to the National African American Clergy Network, saying “As ministers of the Gospel, our hope relies on the justice and mercy of God found in Jesus Christ.”
“As clergy, we believe an injustice has occurred, and we are calling on your authority to correct it,” he added.