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Oklahoma Parole Board Urges Clemency for Death Row Inmate Julius Jones Days Before Execution

Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board voted on Monday to suggest clemency and commute the sentence of a Black man who has been on death row for almost twenty years and all the time maintained his innocence.

“I proceed to imagine that there’s doubt on this case during which the last word punishment shouldn’t be utilized,” board member Kelly Doyle mentioned, rendering her vote within the 3-1 resolution.

She was joined by board members Adam Luck and Larry Morris who voted in favor of clemency and commuting Julius Jones’ dying sentence to life imprisonment with the potential for parole. Board member Richard Smothermon, who was appointed to the Pardon and Parole Board by the Supreme Court docket of Oklahoma in July, voted in opposition to it. The ultimate resolution about whether or not to grant Jones clemency or commute his sentence is now within the fingers of Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt.

In an emotional assertion after the listening to, Jones’ sister, Antoinette Jones, thanked the parole board for “seeing that there was a grave mistake and that it ought to be fastened,” whereas urging Stitt to “take all proof [into] consideration,” and undertake the parole board’s suggestion for her brother.

After 22 years on dying row, Jones, now 41, is simply weeks away from his scheduled Nov. 18 execution in reference to the homicide of 45-year-old Paul Howell throughout a carjacking plot in 1999. Jones has insisted he was arrange by Howell’s killer, a pal who testified in opposition to him at trial, and claimed the homicide weapon that was discovered wrapped in a bandana in his dad and mom’ home was planted there.

Jones, who was 19 when he was arrested for Howell’s homicide, has spent half his life in jail and instructed the board on Monday that he was neither concerned within the planning of the theft that led to Howell’s dying nor had he been current on the time of the taking pictures in Howell’s driveway.

“I’m right here earlier than you at this time to inform what I by no means obtained to inform the jury throughout my trial,” Jones mentioned throughout roughly 17 minutes of testimony on Monday. “Sure, I’ve made many errors in my youth, however I didn’t kill Mr. Paul Howell.”

Jones insisted on Monday that he had been discouraged from providing testimony over issues that he may seem too emotional earlier than a jury determined his destiny throughout ​​his 2002 trial.

After the board recommended during a September hearing that Jones’ sentence be commuted, Stitt scheduled a clemency listening to for a “extra intensive and thorough” assessment that will enable Jones and Howell’s household to talk.

A petition for Jones’ clemency states that Jones shouldn’t be executed on account of “elementary breakdowns within the system tasked with deciding” his guilt based mostly on a “basically flawed and incomplete file.” The petition cited “inexperienced, overworked, and under-resourced public protection counsel” who did not put the prosecution’s case to the check, along with alleged prosecutorial misconduct.

Jones appeared to advance these claims on Monday, insisting that whereas he had a historical past of larceny, he had “by no means accosted folks” and that his lead legal professional, David McKenzie, “rested my case with out consulting me in any respect.”

Forward of Monday’s listening to, the state had stood by its prosecution of Jones, citing DNA proof, a number of eyewitnesses, and an current prison file as supporting the case that Jones had murdered Howell.

“The narrative Jones and his protection staff have fed the media is totally false,” a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Legal professional Normal’s Workplace mentioned throughout the listening to. “The jury obtained it proper. Clemency ought to be denied.”

Jones’ case has drawn nationwide consideration in recent times, together with from celebrities like Kim Kardashian West, and extra than 6.4 million people have signed a Change.org petition in help of Jones, a lot to the frustration of Howell’s household.

“The defenders of Julius Jones have repeatedly and constantly been confirmed to be untruthful and unethical, they usually proceed to depend on false data concerning this case,” Brian Howell, Paul Howell’s brother mentioned on the listening to Monday, describing a social media marketing campaign supporting Jones that he mentioned was stuffed with “lies and unethical ways.”

“Julius Jones was by no means an harmless bystander, duped and framed for the homicide of my brother, because the lies of his defenders would have you ever imagine,” Howell added. “He was and continues to be a pathological liar, a violent sociopath, and a gang member, and a coward that refuses to simply accept accountability for his actions and his prison conduct.”

Paul Howell’s household and the Oklahoma Legal professional Normal’s Workplace, in the meantime, have pushed again on claims of Jones’ innocence, even suggesting that advocates have misappropriated the Black Lives Matter motion in an effort to assist Jones to skirt accountability.

Rachel Howell, the slain man’s daughter, learn a letter from a person she described as a former “Justice for Julius” supporter who instructed her the marketing campaign had wrongly painted her household as racist.

“They’ve framed it as a black versus white factor,” she mentioned, quoting the letter. “I believe Julius and household and mates, they’ve taken benefit of the BLM motion, turned it right into a weapon, it’s a gross distortion.”

Howell’s sister and two daughters had been with him when he was shot and later died from his accidents on July 28, 1999.

Based on court docket paperwork, Howell’s sister heard a gunshot as she climbed out of the automotive and later described seeing a shooter who she described as a Black man in denims and a white T-shirt, with a black cap and a purple bandana over his face, CNN reported. The shooter fired one other shot as Howell’s sister and his daughters scurried to security into the home, court docket paperwork state, per CNN.

Jones’ legal professionals have contended that Jones had been at his dad and mom house on the evening of Howell’s homicide and that jurors had been lacking necessary data on the time of his conviction, together with that the state’s case had relied closely on the testimony {of professional} informants who had been concerned within the carjacking plot that price Howell’s life.

Paul Howell’s girlfriend, Connie Ellison, instructed an appeals board that lingering doubt over the investigation and prosecution of Jones’ execution was motive to not go forward with execution.

Regardless of the chance that talking out might damage her relationship together with her slain boyfriend’s household, Ellison mentioned Monday that she had chosen to testify in Jones’ protection on the attraction as a result of there are “too many questions and an excessive amount of doubt about Julius’ guilt to permit the state of Oklahoma to execute him in simply over 2 weeks.”

“I imagine in my coronary heart that Julius Jones doesn’t deserve dying by the hands of different human beings who may even have doubts of their very own,” she mentioned. “It will be a catastrophic mistake to execute a person whose guilt is just not conclusive. I imagine that Paul Howell wouldn’t need that, and neither do I.”

The board’s vote Monday got here simply days after the state executed 60-year-old John Grant—its first prisoner to be executed by deadly injection in additional than six years.

On Monday, Jones mentioned that he has “carried the burden” of the Howell household “hating me for one thing I didn’t even do” for 22 years.

“I do know I’ve damaged the legislation, however I’ve by no means been a violent man,” he mentioned. “I simply need the household to know that I do acknowledge their loss and that I hope that in some unspecified time in the future they get to heal.”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/oklahoma-parole-board-urges-clemency-for-death-row-inmate-julius-jones-days-before-execution?supply=articles&by way of=rss | Oklahoma Parole Board Urges Clemency for Loss of life Row Inmate Julius Jones Days Earlier than Execution

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