Inmate to be Executed Despite Board of Parole’s Doubts

Inmate to be Executed Despite Board of Parole's Doubts

( – In July of 1999, a carjacking took place that ended with the fatality of a man named Paul Howell. Three days later, police arrested Julius Darius Jones and charged him with murder over Howell’s death. While Jones maintained his innocence and still does to this day, the courts did not agree. A judge sentenced him to death in 2002. The state of Oklahoma plans to follow through on that punishment in a few days despite bipartisan pleas for clemency.

Attempted Appeals

Jones has already spent nearly 20 years of his life in jail, a timeframe in which he attempted to appeal his fate multiple times. All, including his most recent attempt, ultimately failed. Yet, the Pardon and Parole Board of Oklahoma just recently recommended that Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt grant Jones clemency.

Neither Stitt nor his office will comment on the case until the governor decides to grant Jones’ pardon or not. Jones’ family and millions of his supporters wait for answers with bated breath.

Shocking Evidence

Support for Jones spurred the creation of “The Last Defense” (2018), a documentary covering Julius Jones’ trial and ensuing attempts to appeal his sentence. His supporters eventually created the “Justice for Julius” movement, too. The Jones family, together with 6 million petition signers, want Jones exonerated.

Followers of the movement claim Jones’ trial suffered from many issues, namely incorrect witness verification. They also suggest the man was forced to work with an incompetent and inexperienced defense team who ultimately ignored the fact that he had an alibi: he was at home eating dinner with his parents at the time of the murder.

Some supporters also believe racism influenced actions taken by both prosecutors and jury members. They feel the courts only sentenced Jones to die because of the color of his skin.

Rebuttal from “Justice for Paul Howell”

Not everybody supports Julius Jones walking free. A group of people who seek justice for Paul Howell, the victim of the 1999 murder, wants the state to carry out the death sentence as planned. Howell’s family and the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office believe the original punishment fits his crimes.

To further their goals, the group created their own movement: “Justice for Paul Howell.” The website actively attempts to refute claims that Jones is in any way innocent or deserves clemency from execution. They include every claim listed on the “Justice for Julius” website, providing counter-arguments against them along with evidence from the original court case.

The Howell family says the overwhelming public support for Jones is difficult to swallow. They feel he is revictimizing them with every request.

With the governor set to decide on Jones’ case at some point before his execution date on November 18, the incarcerated man’s future hangs in the balance. Will Jones be able to walk free after 20 years on death row? Or will the Howell family finally see their version of justice?

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