With legal hurdles no longer standing in the way of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board’s Sept 13 hearing for death row inmate Julius Jones, organizers are holding a prayer service and rally in support of his application for commutation.
Back in March, the Board voted to move Jones’ case to a Sept. 13 hearing, after reviewing the case for and against Jones’ involvement in the 1999 murder of Paul Howell.
Yet, for months, the attorneys for the State of Oklahoma have attempted to disrupt the legal proceeding from moving forward as planned.
JULIUS JONES POISED FOR SEPT 13 COMMUTATION HEARING AS DISTRICT ATTORNEY TRIES TO BLOCK PAROLE BOARD MEMBERS.
Court denies request
Most recently, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater appealed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court to remove two Parole Board members whom he deemed should be disqualified from voting on Jones’ case.
On Friday, The Oklahoma Supreme Court denied DA Prater’s request to remove Board members Adam Luck and Kelly Doyle, according to local media.
“Petitioner’s request for an order directing Respondents to refrain from participating in the commutation proceedings relating to inmate Julius Darius Jones…is hereby denied,” the Court wrote.
Organizers for Jones plan prayer service, rally
Therefore, Monday’s hearing will proceed as scheduled. The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board can vote to release Jones with time served, reduce his sentence, or allow his execution to proceed.
On Saturday Sept 11, organizers with the Justice for Julius Jones campaign have planned a meet and greet from 6 to 8 p.m. at Kindred Spirits, located at 1726 North East 23rd Street in Oklahoma City.
On Sunday, Nappy Roots Books, a Black-owned bookstore in OKC, will partner with Death Penalty Action to host a meet and greet with the relative of a former Ohio death row inmate. Former state Senator Connie Johnson (D), who’s running for Governor of Oklahoma, is listed as one of the speakers of the event.
Later on Sunday, Pastor Keith Jossell will lead a 4 p.m. prayer service at Tabernacle Baptist Church, located at 1829 North East 36th in OKC.
Support for Jones’ commutation is widespread across state, nation
Jones and his family have maintained his innocence in the murder of Paul Howell for over 20 years. In recent years documentaries have highlighted allegations of prejudiced jurors, insufficient prosecutorial evidence, and an ineffective council. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals denied Jones’ claims in a 2006 decision in Jones v. State, paving the way for his impending execution.
Yet, a recent poll has shown 6 in 10 Oklahomans don’t want him to be executed. Over 6 million people signed a petition to support his release, and even the former girlfriend of the murder victim has come out in support of Jones’ release in recent days.
And with the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board’s unprecedented decision to consider Jones’ arguments for appeal in a stage II commutation hearing, supporters feel renewed energy in the push to free Jones from the clutches of Oklahoma’s criminal justice system.
Ahead of Monday’s hearing, supporters will hold an 8:15 a.m. rally, marching from Tabernacle Baptist Church to a vigil at Evangelistic Baptist Church. The vigil will take place across the street from the Kate Barnard Community Corrections Center, where Jones’ commutation hearing is scheduled to take place at 9 a.m on Monday, Sept. 13.
“After over two decades in prison for a crime he did not commit, Julius Jones will finally have a chance to tell his story,” said Jones-Davis in a statement. “We believe the truth will set him free.”
Parole Board provides zoom link for commutation hearing
Organizers and supporters will gather after the commutation hearing at the Ice Event Center & Grill, located at 1148 North East 36th Street.
To view the agenda for Monday’s commutation hearing, click here.