Following weeks of determined advocacy from supporters, activists and celebrities and commendations from Oklahoma’s Board of Pardons and Parol, Governor Kevin Stitt has announced that he will commute Jones’ sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The decision came just hours before Jones was scheduled to face lethal injection for the murder of Paul Howell.
“After prayerful consideration and reviewing materials presented by all sides of this case, I have determined to commute Julius Jones’ sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole,” Stitt announced.
It was an enormous win for justice advocates who’ve been raising serious doubts about Jones’ guilt. Among those doubts: the fact that Jones doesn’t match eyewitness description of the killer and three different inmates have since sworn that another man named Christopher Jordan had confided that he’d framed Jones for the murder. You can read more about the case and the effort to get Jones off death row here.
Cheers and celebration broke out among Jones’ supporters in the Oklahoma State Capitol when Stitt’s decision was announced.
Supporters will likely to continue their push to grant Jones a new trial. But, for now, this is a serious victory.