On Monday, the family of Julius Jones was met with another roadblock on the journey to securing his freedom. Days ahead of his scheduled execution, Jones' relatives visited the office of Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt in hopes of advocating for his freedom. NBC affiliate, KFOR, reports that the Jones family went inside the governor's office several times on November 15 and made multiple requests to meet with the governor in person, but they were denied each time. When the governor's office prepared to close, Jones' family decided to leave a letter instead.
“I think Mama Jones wanted an opportunity to let the governor know that her son is innocent and provide some details that he had never heard before,” Jones' family friend, Jimmy Lawson, told KFOR.
“We’ll take it his opportunity to reconvene with our team and then we’ll come up with our plan B.”
Jones is currently imprisoned for the murder of Paul Howell. Jones' family, friends and advocates have taken issue with his conviction because he does not match the description of the assailant. According to The Innocence Project, Jones has an alibi for the night of the murder and his hair does not match the eyewitness description of the killer.
"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.
Adding on, many observers have taken issue with how the the jury interacted with Jones throughout the trial. Eleven out of the 12 jurors were white and one juror called him a racial slur.
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.
With the information presented in the case, Oklahoma Pardon & Parole Board has moved to grant Jones clemency twice. A number of celebrities like Kim Kardashian have also joined in to advocate for his release.
"Julius, his family and everyone on his team are still hopeful Stitt will do the right thing," Kardashian tweeted.
"Today, Julius' family and close friends received invites to his execution. I can’t even imagine how they all must be feeling right now."
Despite these please and moves by the Oklahoma Pardon & Parole Board, Stitt has refused to take Jones off of death row. Jones is set to be executed on November 18.
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