Activists Make Last Effort To Grant Julius Jones Clemency

Julius Jones

Photo: Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Just before the turn of the century, Oklahoma businessman Paul Howell was brutally killed. More than 20 years later, Julius Jones is set to be executed for the crime, but there's one major issue. A number of activists, public figures and lawmakers have raised a number of questions as to whether he committed the crime. A recent report from NPR indicates that Jones had an alibi for the night of the murder, did not match the description provided by an eyewitness and allegedly faced racial abuse at the hands of the jury. Not to mention, there are a number of incarcerated individuals who say that Jones' co-defendant, Charles Jordan, has admitted to killing Howell and framing the 41-year-old man. With the amount of doubt raised in this case, support for Jones' release has grown over the last few years.

At the local level, support for Jones' release has manifested in the form of a peaceful protest. KOCO has reported that hundreds of high school students in the greater Oklahoma City area have staged walk outs in support of Jones' release.

"The governor should do something about it…make sure he actually thinks about it," a student at Classen SAS High School in Oklahoma City told the local news outlet.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has had the opportunity to do something about it. At the state level, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board has voted to grant Jones clemency twice, but Stitt has opted not to release Jones.

"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. 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' attorney, Amanda Bass, told CNN.

The work of Bass and Jones' family has raised awareness about this case. At the national level, Jermaine "J. Cole" Cole, Kim Kardashian, Kerry Washington and Joy Ann Reid are just a few of the many celebrities to encourage others to learn about Jones' fight for freedom. Actress Viola Davis has also produced a documentary about Jones' quest for clemency.

"Julius Jones awaits a decision that either saves his life or condemns it. If our courts are to be called a justice system, then justice must be done. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, there are many like me, including Kim Kardashian, who seek complete and total clemency," Bishop T.D. Jakes tweeted.

The fight for Jones' freedom has not stopped there. European Union Representative Stavros Lambrinidis has also chimed in.

"We respectfully urge you to exercise all powers vested in your office to grant clemency to Mr. Julius Jones," Lambrinidis wrote in a letter obtained by NPR.

Despite calls for Jones' release at every level of society, Stitt has declined to intervene and stop his execution. At 4 p.m., Jones is scheduled to be executed by the state of Oklahoma.

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