Convicted inmate Julius Jones’ death sentence was commuted by Governor Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma just hours before his scheduled execution this past Thursday. Jones was granted life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Jones was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to die for the 1999 homicide and carjacking of Paul Howell. Howell was parked in his parent’s driveway sitting in the car with his sister and two young daughters when he was shot.
Since his conviction back in 2002, Jones has amassed a large following of supporters who maintain his innocence. 19-years-old at the time, Jones claims he was home with family at the time of the murder, and that he was framed by his friend Christopher Jordan. Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Baker Mayfield, and Dak Prescott have all lobbied for his release from prison, some writing letters to Governor Stitt.
Kim Kardashian tweeted this after Jones’ commutation:
Jones’ mother also released a statement:
For over twenty years, I have been haunted by the idea of watching my baby boy die in an execution chamber for a murder that occurred when he was home with his family. I still believe that every day Julius spends behind bars is an injustice, and I will never stop speaking out for him or fighting to free him. But today is a good day, and I am thankful to Governor Stitt for that.
It remains unclear if Jones will ever have the opportunity to have his conviction overturned or his sentence pardoned. Despite this, if he truly is innocent, Governor Stitt’s commutation is the first step in undoing this injustice.