Oklahoma panel moves toward commuting death row inmate’s sentence


March 8 – Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board voted 3-1 on Monday to advance death row inmate Julius Jones’ request for a reduced sentence.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board voted 3-1 on Monday to advance death row inmate Julius Jones’ request for a reduced sentence, setting up the possibility he could avoid lethal injection.

The board’s approval moves Jones’ commutation request to a second-stage hearing later this year in which both Jones and his supporters will be able to address the board. If approved at the second stage, the commutation request will be forwarded to Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt for a final decision.

Jones, 40, maintains he is innocent of the 1999 shooting death of Edmond businessman Paul Howell, who was shot to death in front of his family during a carjacking.

Julius Jones was convicted and sentenced to die for the 1999 shooting death of Edmond businessman Paul Howell.
JULIUS JONES

Jones’ case drew the attention of reality television star Kim Kardashian West and numerous professional athletes with Oklahoma ties after it was featured in 2018 on the ABC television documentary series “The Last Defense.”

State prosecutors say the evidence against Jones is overwhelming and have defended his death sentence, urging the board to reject his commutation request.

“To this day, Jones has not expressed an ounce of remorse for his callous actions,” District Attorney David Prater wrote in a letter to the panel. “Instead, he continues to victimize the Howell family by fueling a media circus with outright lies and by making a farce of this clemency process.”

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