One day remains until Julius Jones will be executed by the state of Oklahoma for a crime that many believe he did not commit. In an effort to bring light to Jones' current situation, a number of public figures have joined the fight to secure his freedom. Kim Kardashian, Kerry Washington, Joy-Ann Reid and a number of others have taken to social media to urge others to sign petitions advocating for Jones' release.
"Stay the execution of Julius Jones, Governor Kevin Stitt. It’s the right, just thing to do," Bernice King tweeted.
"There is only [one day] left to petition the execution of Julius Jones. This innocent man has lived on death row for almost 20 years for a crime he did not commit. Don’t let the state of Oklahoma execute Julius Jones," attorney Ben Crump added.
A number of people have gravitated toward Jones' case because he has spent half of his life in jail for the murder of Paul Howell, a crime that he is certain he did not commit. According to The Innocence Project, Jones was at home eating dinner when Howell was killed in 1999 and his physical description did not match the one provided by the sole eyewitness. However, a man by the name of Christopher Jordan did match the description provided by the eyewitness, but he was only charged with being the "getaway driver." Moreover, The Innocence Project reports that three people who were incarcerated with Jordan say he admitted to committing the murder and framing Jones.
One of the many people who believes Jones was framed is NBA coach Irv Roland. Roland has known Jones since he was a child and has never believed that he was responsible for killing Howell.
“I never believed that he did it,” Roland told The Salt Lake Tribune.
Roland is not the only person who believes Jones is innocent. The Oklahoma Parole Board has voted twice to grant Jones clemency, but Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has stood in the way of his freedom both times. With Jones' execution date growing closer, Roland is still hopeful that his close friend will be granted his freedom.
“I have a hard time believing that God would bring us this far and give us this much momentum, this much worldwide awareness to Julius Jones’s case, just to have him executed anyway,” Roland explained to The Salt Lake Tribune.
“I have a hard time believing that.”
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.