Oklahoma’s Governor Commutes Julius Jones’ Death Sentence, Halting Today’s Scheduled Execution
Just hours before the execution was scheduled to happen, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced that he was commuting the sentence of Julius Jones, 41, who was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1999 killing of a businessman during a carjacking.
Jones’ pending execution became a national news story. Not only has Jones insisted he was innocent and not at the scene of the crime, but several Republican state legislators and members of Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board agreed that there was enough of a question of Jones’ guilt to spare him death. The Board voted 3–1 earlier in November to recommend that the Republican governor commute his sentence.
Advocates of Jones’ innocence note that co-defendant Christopher Jordan got a deal from prosecutors that let him point the finger at Jones in exchange for getting 15 years instead of a seat on death row. Several people have come forward to say that they’ve heard Jordan confess to the crime.
Stitt had kept quiet about the issue, waiting for the recommendation from the Pardon and Parole Board. He has overseen the return of executions to Oklahoma, which had been on pause for the past six years due to concerns about drug protocols that have caused some serious problems. In October the first execution after the hiatus, of John Marion Grant, made the man go into convulsions and vomit before his death.
“After prayerful consideration and
Article from Reason.com