Oklahoma governor commutes Julius Jones’ death sentence

A crowd that had gathered inside the Oklahoma Capitol in assist of Jones broke out into loud applause and cheers after the choice was introduced shortly after midday Thursday.

Earlier Thursday, Jones’ attorneys had filed a last-minute emergency request searching for a brief cease to his execution, saying Oklahoma’s deadly injection procedures publish a “severe and substantial danger of extreme struggling and ache to prisoners” and citing final month’s execution during which John Marion Grant convulsed and vomited as he was being put to death.

The state’s Pardon and Parole Board recommended in a 3-1 vote on Nov. 1 that Stitt commute Jones’ sentence to life in prison, with a number of members of the panel agreeing that they had doubts in regards to the proof that led to Jones’ conviction.

Jones was convicted of first-degree homicide and sentenced to die for the 1999 capturing death of Edmond businessman Paul Howell throughout a carjacking.

Jones’ case drew widespread consideration after it was profiled in “The Final Protection,” a three-episode documentary produced by actress Viola Davis that aired on ABC in 2018. Since then, actuality tv star Kim Kardashian West and athletes with Oklahoma ties, together with NBA stars Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin and Trae Younger, have urged Stitt to commute Jones’ death sentence and spare his life.

Jones alleges he was framed by the precise killer, a highschool good friend and former co-defendant who was a key witness towards him. However Oklahoma County District Lawyer David Prater and the state’s former legal professional common, Mike Hunter, have mentioned the proof towards Jones is overwhelming.

Info from trial transcripts reveals that witnesses recognized Jones because the shooter and positioned him with Howell’s stolen automobile. Investigators additionally discovered the homicide weapon wrapped in a bandanna with Jones’ DNA in an attic area above his bed room. Jones claimed in his commutation submitting that the gun and bandanna have been planted there by the precise killer, who had been inside Jones’ home after the killing.

Howell’s sister, Megan Tobey, and two younger daughters have been in Howell’s SUV when the carjacking occurred in his mother and father’ driveway within the Oklahoma Metropolis suburb of Edmond. Tobey testified earlier than the board that she distinctly remembers seeing Jones shoot her brother.

“He is identical individual at this time as he was 22 years in the past. He’s nonetheless entering into hassle. He’s nonetheless in a gang. He’s nonetheless mendacity. And he nonetheless feels no disgrace, guilt or regret for his motion,” Tobey mentioned. “We’d like Julius Jones to be held accountable.”

Oklahoma ended a six-year moratorium on executions — introduced on by issues over its deadly injection strategies — final month. Grant, 60, convulsed and vomited as he was being put to death Oct. 28.

Grant was the primary individual in Oklahoma to be executed since a series of flawed lethal injections in 2014 and 2015. Richard Glossip was simply hours away from being executed in September 2015 when jail officers realized that they had the wrong lethal drug. It was later revealed that the identical mistaken drug had been used to execute an inmate in January 2015.

The drug mix-ups adopted a botched execution in April 2014 during which inmate Clayton Lockett struggled on a gurney earlier than dying 43 minutes into his deadly injection — and after the state’s prisons chief ordered executioners to cease.

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