Julius Jones Coalition announces events leading up to September commutation hearing

by Deon Osborne, Associate Editor
julius jones commutation hearing oklahoma county district attorney

Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board is preparing to make its final recommendation in the upcoming commutation hearing for high-profile death-row inmate Julius Jones on September 13 at 10 a.m. Meanwhile, relatives and supporters of Jones, who has maintained his innocence for over 20 years, are pulling out all the stops with a flurry of events in a last ditch effort to save his life.

Cece-Jones Davis is founder of the Julius Jones Coalition and has been a strong advocate for his innocence, alongside Jones’ sister Antoinette.

“Over the next month, we need to do everything we can to help Julius get the freedom he deserves,” Jones-Davis wrote to supporters in an email on Friday. “So today, I’m asking you to contact the Pardon & Parole Board and tell them you support Julius’ fight for justice.”

Events include a screening of the film “Just Mercy” from August 20 to August 22. Following the screening, organizers named August 30th through September 3rd “Julius Jones Week.” Organizers also encouraged supporters to post on social media in support of his innocence and continue to call the Pardon and Parole Board. Beyond that, supporters will hold a meet and greet on September 11 and a special church service on September 12, with times and locations coming soon.

New evidence pokes holes in Julius Jones conviction

Aside from evidence pointing to a racist juror and an ineffective council, Jones’ two-decades old trial was marred by the fact that no relative was able to testify to his alibi the night an Edmond businessman was murdered. Julius Jones, then a 19-year-old college student at the University of Oklahoma, has never changed his story, claiming he had nothing to do with the man’s death. His family maintains that he was at home playing board games with them during the time of the murder.

This year, a former co-defendant of Jones reportedly admitted to another inmate that he framed Jones for the murder, according to a report from the Frontier.

Arkansas inmate Roderick Wesley told Jones’ attorneys in a series of letters and interviews that Chris Jordan, who allegedly spent time at the out-of-state prison during an “interstate transfer”, admitted to the killing. 

“One day we’re sitting there, I’m telling him about my situation, he pretty much told me about his because at the time I didn’t even know he had the murder charge,” Wesley told Jones’ attorneys in an interview they provided to the Frontier.

“So it was pretty much like I guess you could say at the time (he was) being sorta remorseful. But it was one of those cases where (he was like) ‘I’m sorry but I’m not gonna just jump out there and throw myself to the wolves,’” Wesley added.

District Attorney David Prater refuses to consider new evidence

Moreover, former Attorney General Mike Hunter and Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater have refused to consider any new evidence pointing to Jones’ innocence and DA Prater has even gone as far as to sue Governor Stitt and the Pardon and Parole Board.

According to the lawsuit, DA Prater is asking the governor to block any votes from the Board that involve two members, Kelly Doyle and Adam Luck, because they work for community organizations that support justice-involved residents. DA Prater also publicly criticized Luck for retweeting a tweet from Julius Jones supporter Kim Kardashian that gave information on how to contact the Pardon and Parole Board.

Meanwhile, in a recent op-ed published in the Oklahoman, Cece-Jones Davis called on DA Prater to be transparent in his role as an arbiter of justice.

Jones supporter calls out DA Prater for refusing to turn over Jones’ casefile

Jones-Davis explained a conversation she’d had with the district attorney at a conference several years ago. “Mr. Prater said something that night that I have not forgotten: ‘Without question, race plays a role in the criminal justice system.’”

She then detailed how the defense team for Jones had requested Julius Jones’ casefile from DA Prater, to which he allegedly told them he would hand it over. 

“But to this day, he has not. Instead, he has downplayed public outcry and sued Pardon and Parole Board members in an effort to deny Julius a commutation hearing,” Jones-Davis wrote.

In her op-ed, she also noted how Oklahoma has exonerated 10 death-row inmates due to prosecutorial misconduct and actual innocence. Bob Macey, the prosecutor who sentenced Julius Jones to death, had nearly half of his 54 sentences overturned and was accused of prosecutorial misconduct in multiple cases before his death in 2011, according to Harvard’s Fair Punishment Project. It ranked Macey as the nation’s second deadliest prosecutor.

Bipartisan calls for Jones’ freedom

“I have spent the past twenty years on death row for a crime I did not commit, did not witness, and was not at. I feel terrible for Mr. Howell and his family, but I was not responsible,” Julius Jones wrote in his commutation petition.  

“I did not have a chance to tell my story to the jury at my trial because my lawyers rested the case without calling any witnesses, including my mother, father, sister and brother who would have told the jury I was home with them when this crime was committed.”

Current and former legislators have also voiced their concerns.

“The death of Mr. Howell was an absolute tragedy,” state Senator George Young, a Democrat, and organizer Kris Steele, a Republican, wrote in an op-ed published by the Frontier on August 5. 

“Executing an innocent man will not bring Mr. Howell back to his family, but commuting an innocent man will bring Julius Jones closer to his. After 20 years in prison it is time to right this wrong,” they added.

Since 1976, Oklahoma has had the highest number of executions per capita, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Moreover, Oklahoma was the first state in the U.S. and the first jurisdiction in the world to adopt lethal injection as a form of execution in 1977.

Over 6 million people have signed a petition online demanding justice for Julius Jones.

To contact the Pardon and Parole Board, call (405) 521-6600. To contact DA Prater’s office, call (405) 713-1600. Organizers and supporters have asked those interested in getting involved to visit https://www.justiceforjuliusjones.com/.

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6 comments

dudleysharp August 17, 2021 - 9:45 am

Deon:

It is also important to stress that the “innocent”/”exoneration” frauds, in death row cases, are in the 71-83% range, as detailed (1) and that one should research the decisions made by the appellate courts and not the material, put out by activists, which is, notorious for being inaccurate, as detailed.

1) Death Row, “Exonerations”, Media & Intentional Fraud
at prodpinnc

Reply
Jerry August 18, 2021 - 6:43 pm

If you want to read the case google the key words JULIUS JONES OKLAHOMA COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS, then you can make up an informed decision.

Here are a few facts the media does not present, since it does not involve Kardashians:

1. Julius pled guilty to armed robbery and carjacking

2. Julius co-horts in the car jacking adventure ALL African Americans all 4 testified against him and told of his statements of guilt

3. Julius wrote a threatening letter to his girlfriend warning her that his family could injure her if she testified against her

4. At trial, testimony by numerous witnesses showed that the Jones family was soliciting false testimony trying to establish a false alibi, which is why the attorney did not call them as witnesses, since their lack of credibility was already

established. Now that folks have forgotten this episode of attempted perjury and witness tampering, the Jones family now falsely says they were not allowed to testify.

5. Jones own attorney blamed the shooting during a car jacking on “impulse control” issue that Jones had

6. Jones was implicated in numerous crimes after his OU scholarship was revoked and he was financially desperate

All sad, but true. Jones has been rightfully convicted just like the other inmates on death row who claim innocence

Reply
Barbara Marshall August 19, 2021 - 6:14 am

Julius Jones is innocent. He is innocent on Death Row. Malicious prosecution and prosecutorial misconduct has kept him in prison for decades. Julius Jones deserves a fair trial. Refusing to hear testimony from his family and friends is unlawful. Julius Jones is entitled to due process to the full letter of the law. When Justice is meted out Julius Jones will be proven innocent.
#JuliusJones
#JuliusJones
#JuliusJones

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Poll: 6 in 10 Oklahomans support commutation for death-row inmate Julius Jones August 26, 2021 - 1:34 pm

[…] to gather support for his commutation, the Julius Jones Coalition. have planned “Julius Jones Week” from August 30 through September 3rd, in an effort to convince leaders they would be killing an […]

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Julius Jones' last chance: Pardon and Parole Board sets October clemency hearing date August 31, 2021 - 3:36 pm

[…] of the vote, Oklahoma City Black Lives Matter leader Rev. Sheri T. Dickerson urged supporters to attend the impromptu meeting to advocate for Jones’ […]

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Former girlfriend of murder victim supports Julius Jones' case for commutation September 8, 2021 - 12:24 pm

[…] Ms. Ellison was once the prosecution’s star witness, but changed her mind about Mr. Jones’ role in Mr. Howell’s murder after learning facts of the case that were not presented during his trials over the years. She has also met with Mr. Jones to hear his side of the story. […]

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