Julius Jones’ execution set for Thursday, federal court rejects appeal – Everett Post

(NEW YORK) – Julius Jones has spent the past 20 years fighting for his life on death row, but a federal appeals court dismissed his latest appeal on Friday.

As of now, Jones will be executed on his scheduled November 18th execution date this week, unless the Oklahoma Governor decides to grant him a pardon.

In September, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended that Jones’ sentence be commuted to life imprisonment, with parole given to Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt.

The decision still rests with Stitt, who said in a press release in September that he was awaiting a decision based on the grace hearing.

“I do not accept the recommendation of the Pardon and Parole Board to commute Julius Jones’ judgment because a mercy hearing, not a conversion hearing, is the appropriate place for our state to consider death row cases,” Stitt said in a press release on Jan. September release.

On November 1, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted to pardon Jones 3-1. Stitt did not publicly announce a decision as of Tuesday.

“Nightline” spoke to Jones’ family in September. Jones’ mother, Madeline Davis-Jones, said the parole board’s decision sparked new hope for her son’s survival and described the news as “magical.”

“I’m still in shock because it’s not over yet, you know? We still have so much ground [to] Cover, ”said Jones’ sister Antoinette Jones. “I don’t know. I can’t explain it, but it felt good.”

Antoinette Jones said her brother was calm when he heard the parole board’s recommendation, knowing that work still needs to be done to secure his freedom.

“He said, ‘I’m fine. I’ll get even better when I get out there and hug you all and we can start changing the world, “said Antoinette Jones.” It was a relief. I could breathe a little easier. “

Jones’ sister continues to hope he will be released and said she could envision justice for her brother.

“Julius can feel the sun on his skin, the natural sun on his skin. It looks like he doesn’t have any chains [on] if he can go out, “she said. “It looks like freedom.”

Julius Jones was 19 years old when he was arrested in 1999 for the murder of Oklahoma businessman Paul Howell and sentenced to death in 2002.

“We believe Julius was wrongly convicted and Oklahoma is in danger of having an innocent man executed,” said Jones’ attorney Amanda Bass.

Jones is 41 years old now and has spent most of his life behind bars. Even after so many years, his sister and mother have not given up hope.

Before jail, friends and teachers knew Jones as a champion high school basketball player who was on an academic scholarship to the University of Oklahoma.

That changed in 1999 when Howell, 45, was shot dead in his family’s driveway after a car theft in the affluent suburb of Edmond, Oklahoma.

Howell’s GMC Suburban went missing and his sister Megan Tobey was the only eyewitness.

“Megan Tobey described the shooter as a young black man who wore a red bandana, a white shirt and a stocking cap or skull cap. She couldn’t identify the shooter’s face because it was obscured, “Bass told ABC News in 2018.

Two days after Howell’s death, police found his Suburban in a grocery store parking lot. They later learned that a man named Ladell King had offered to sell the car.

King named Chris Jordan and Julius Jones as investigators and said the two men had asked him to help them sell the stolen Suburban.

“Ladell was questioned by the senior investigators in this case. He told police that on the night of the crime, a guy named Chris Jordan came into his apartment. A few minutes later, according to Ladell, King Julius Jones pulls up, ”lawyer Dale Baich told ABC News in 2018.

King accused Jordan of being the driver, claiming that he and Jones were looking for suburbans to steal, but it was Jones who shot Howell shot.

“Both Ladell King and Christopher Jordan drew police attention to Julius Jones ‘parents’ home as a place where incriminating evidence would be contained,” said Bass.

Investigators found a gun wrapped in a red kerchief in the crawl space of the Jones family home. The next day, Jones was arrested for capital murder.

Jones’ attorneys say the evidence police found may have been planned by Jordan. They say Jordan stayed at Jones’ house the night after the murder, but Jordan denied these allegations during the trial.

In the years that followed, Jones’ defense team has argued that racial prejudice and missteps by his then public defense team played a role.

Jones’ team has presented files to the parole board that they say prove his innocence, including affidavits and taped video interviews with inmates who were in jail with Jordan. They said they confessed to Jordan’s alleged murder of Howell.

In a statement to ABC News, Jordan’s attorney Billy Bock said: “Chris Jordan maintains his position that his role in the death of Paul Howell was an accomplice to Julius Jones. Mr. Jordan testified truthfully in the jury trial of Mr. Jones and denied giving ‘confessions’ to anyone. “

Jordan served 15 years in prison before he was released.

In 2020, Jones’ story came back into the spotlight when the unlikely legal ally Kim Kardashian brought public attention to his case. Kardashian, who is studying to take the California bar exam, has been vocal about the death penalty and prison reform, and campaigned for the release of a number of imprisoned men and women.

“Kim Kardashian, I may feel like one of my sorority sisters … she was down to earth,” said Davis-Jones.

Antoinette Jones said Kardashian went out of her way to help her brother.

“She sat down and solved my brother’s case. That means she actually got the job done, ”said Jones. “She did the job of going back and checking certain things, to point out certain things.”

“The fact that she told me she could visit my brother was almost like she took a piece of him and brought it to us and then we could feel like he was with us,” added Jones.

But despite all efforts, Julius Jones’s execution date is still set.

His family said they just had to wait and see if Stitt approves the parole board’s recommendation and will commute Jones’ death sentence in November. Three members of the Pardon and Parole Board have been appointed by the governor, giving Davis-Jones hope.

“I want for [Stitt] doing the right thing because the truth will set you free, ”said Davis-Jones. “But above all as a manager, I know that it is sometimes difficult … to make decisions, [but] You have to try to make the right decisions. “

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