This is the second time that the Oklahoma Pardon & Parole Board has voted to grant Jones clemency. In September, the Oklahoma Pardon & Parole Board voted to grant clemency to Jones, but Governor Kevin Stitt stepped into stop the effort.
“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, stated, according to NY Daily News.
“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 is currently in jail for the murder of Paul Howell. According to a report from The Innocence Project, Jones was eating dinner at home when Howell was killed. Adding on, court documents show that Jones does not match the description of the killer. The sole eyewitness of the crime described the killer as a man with one to two inches of hair, but Jones was bald at the time of the murder.
"A man named Christopher Jordan matched the eyewitness’ hair description, but claimed only to have been the 'getaway driver' and not the shooter at trial. He was the State’s star witness against Mr. Jones. In exchange for testifying that Mr. Jones was the shooter, Mr. Jordan was given a plea deal for his alleged role as the 'getaway driver.' He served 15 years in prison and, today, he is free," the organization stated.
Also, the criminal justice organization took issue with how race impacted Jones' trial. Eleven out of the 12 jurors were white and one juror even referred him as a "n----."
"The officer who arrested Mr. Jones called him the n-word and dared him to run, then implied he would shoot him if he did. Eleven out of the 12 jurors at Mr. Jones’ trial were white, and one juror referred to Mr. Jones by the n-word, and suggested that he be taken out behind the courthouse and shot," the Innocence Project adds.
Jones was scheduled to be executed on November, but Governor Stitt will now have the opportunity to overturn the ruling.
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.