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Connie Ellison is an unlikely supporter of Julius Jones, who currently sits on death row for the murder of Paul Howell, killed in 1999. Mr. Jones has maintained his innocence for over 20 years.
Mr. Jones’ execution date has been set for October 28, but a commutation or clemency by Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt could save his life. However, such a legal maneuver would mean his sentence would be reduced to life in prison or time served, not complete exoneration.
Meanwhile, Mr. Jones’ attorneys are hoping that his more than 20-years served in prison would create an opportunity for Mr. Jones’ release for time served.
Former girlfriend of murder victim supports Julius Jones’ commutation plea
Ms. Ellison, who was in a relationship with Mr. Howell at the time of his murder, has become a supporter, one who hopes that Mr. Jones’ appeal is granted, and that the now-41yo man will not face execution next month.
“I just can’t be silent anymore,” Ms. Ellison said last month during an interview. “This is a guy whose guilt is questionable to me and they’re wanting to execute him.”
Ms. Ellison was once supported the prosecution, 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.
“An extraordinary case”
She noted that the case against Mr. Jones is not strong enough to send him to his death.
The DA’s case seems to focus on the testimony of Christopher Jordan, who was initially Mr. Jones’ co-defendant. Mr. Jordan turned against Mr. Jones, blaming him entirely for Mr. Howell’s murder, and was released from prison himself a few years ago.
Mr. Jones’ maintains he had nothing to do with Mr. Howell’s murder, and was framed by Mr. Jordan, who slept at Mr. Jones’ home the night of the murder. Mr. Jones has insisted that the murder weapon was then planted in his home, along with a bandanna.
However, even with Ms. Ellison’s support, the odds are stacked against Mr. Jones. “Clemency is rarely granted, but it’s granted in extraordinary cases,” said Robert Dunham, director of the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center. “But if you can say anything about Julius Jones’s case, it is that it’s extraordinary.”