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In just ten days, the state of Oklahoma will execute Julius Jones – unless Governor Stitt steps in. One week ago, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended for the second time that Julius’s receive commutation and clemency. Governor Stitt has yet to approve the recommendation or make any statement about the case since then. Now, at least one Republican in Oklahoma’s House of Representatives is joining a chorus of conservative voices calling for mercy.

Kevin McDugle, one of the more conservative members of the State House, spoke exclusively to The Black Wall Street Times about Julius Jones and his desire to make changes to Oklahoma’s death penalty practices.

“My belief is this,” McDugle said, “I don’t care who it is, we cannot put somebody to death if there is doubt.”

“I’d fight for anyone who’s in that situation,” he continued, “and that includes Julius.”

The Republican lawmaker has spent the last few years advocating on behalf of another death row inmate, Richard Glossip. McDugle, who wrote a letter urging for Jones’s sentence to be commuted to “avoid a grave miscarriage of justice“, says he sees many similarities between Jones’ case and Glossip’s.

clemency oklahoma legislative black caucus clemency
Julius Jones (right) addresses the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board for the first time in 22 years at his clemency hearing on November 1, 2021. The Board voted 3-1 to recommend the governor provide clemency and commute his sentence to life with the possibility of parole. (News on 6 Screenshot)

Questions of guilt lead to calls for change in the state’s death penalty policies

Glossip, according to McDugle, did not receive a fair trial. Even though his defense attorneys called no witnesses to testify, McDugle says more than 200 people have now bene interviewed to give additional information. Unfortunately, new evidence can only be presented up to 90 days after a trial. A jury convicted Glossip of murder in 1997. He has spent more than 20 years on death row.

Both of these cases are causing the state representative to push for new laws regarding the death penalty.

“There are flaws in our system,” McDugle said, “and it very much concerns me.”

da david prater citizens grand jury
Organizers of Wednesday’s press conference outside the Oklahoma Judicial Building say DA David Prater uses the law to alter and obstruct the course of legal proceedings that don’t go his way, particularly the clemency proceedings for death row inmate Julius Jones. Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. (Photo by Mike Creef / The Black Wall Street Times.)

This is why McDugle is advocating for two bills to ensure “everyone on death row” has their case reviewed. The first, he says, requires DA’s offices to provide all evidence in death penalty cases when an attorney requests it. The second would allow for a third party investigation of a death penalty case to take place prior to an execution.

McDugle says pardon and parole boards “only have 40 minutes to look at a case”. He hopes these measures will do more to ensure the “human element” of sentencing doesn’t allow errors to go unchecked.

Justice over politics

In his interview with The BWSTimes, McDugle agreed that this moment is about justice and not politics.

“The Governor has to dig a little deeper and make a decision,” McDugle said. “I do hope they take [Julius] off of death row.”

McDugle’s support for Julius Jones comes as clergy once again urged Governor Stitt to follow the pardon and parole board’s recommendations at a press conference inside Tulsa’s Greenwood Cultural Center on Friday.

Nate Morris moved to the Tulsa area in 2012 and has committed himself to helping build a more equitable and just future for everyone who calls the city home. As a teacher, advocate, community organizer...

12 replies on “Republican lawmaker hopes Stitt will “take Julius Jones off death row””

  1. McDugle tries to interfere with the courts as a legislator, which is improper. Of course he can publicize his opinion. But the legislative branch has no official duties with the judicial branch.
    So far, 14 state and federal court judges have reviewed the trial transcript, evidence, testimony and exhibits. Each judge has upheld the jury verdict and sentence.
    The Oklahoma voters intentionally put capital punishment in the Oklahoma Constitution to protect this from whimsical politicians who tilt at windmills like a weathervane.
    The Oklahoma Governor takes an oath to uphold the law and constitution.
    Julius Jones supporters were misinformed that he was only a shoplifter when in fact Julius pled guilty to an identical ARMED ROBBERY AND CARJACKING which occurred 6 days before the Howell carjacking escalated into murder. JONES DECLINED TO TESTIFY AT TRIAL which is a constitutional right…
    There is no reasonable doubt…

    1. Oh, but there is reasonable doubt, you just don’t see it yourself. Judges reexamined the whole case, haven’t they? Fourteen of them? The fourteenth amendment sounds good, yes. There is reasonable doubt, you don’t see it, and this is because somebody would have to admit to having made a mistake. It happens. Julius Jones did not murder Mr Paul Howell. So many judges copy & paste and nowhere the truth? This is bad and literally has got something to do with blaming the guilt on the only one left inside prison, solely Julius Jones, from day one all until now. That’s not justice, it’s daily routine, lacking truth. A lot of it. Try to see. Imagine the truth.

    2. Jerry – unfortunately Oklahoma’s justice system has a horrible reputation which precedes itself. It matters not how many courts have reviewed the case. The federal courts will no longer correct state court errors in habeas review so the Oklahoma justice system has been given free rein to violate the constitution and do almost anything it feels like. We live in a world where priests molest children. Similarly, there are sociopaths employed by the justice system. Macy was a serial killer. He did not have to do the actual killing himself to commit murder. He used the legitimacy handed to him to manipulate juries with false evidence to get them to do it. Every case he touched ought to be gone over with a fine tooth comb. There should be no presumption of correctness afforded any of his cases. The wrongs he committed are fixable. If the officials involved will only take their eyes off the discomfort they face momentarily by admitting how egregiously the justice system failed. Keeping their eyes on eternity, they will see that accountability is essential to a worthwhile justice system. Will it take riots like those spurred by the George Floyd incident to fix the Oklahoma justice system or will those responsible for it finally do their job?

  2. thank god Jerry is here to inform us that we were all wrong and he’s right, Julius is guilty and he declined testifying.

  3. You, Jerry are the one that is misinformed. I did months of research, read the court transcripts, appeals transcripts and police transcripts. All points to at least reasonable doubt! The trial was a joke. His lawyers admitted that they failed him miserably. A colleague of David McKenzie, (lead attorney) said his representation was horrific. McKenzie never prepared him to testify, which is why he didn’t. The appeals trial is not allowed to bring forth any new evidence. The co-defendent Chris Jordon has admitted to this murder at least THREE TIMES! I have learned from this case that I can no longer blindly accept court verdicts. They are a human institution and like all other humans they make mistakes. They are so desperate that a mistake by the prosecution will be revealed that they would rather see an innocent man pay the price with his life. That is so incredibly deranged. I don’t know how people like this sleep at night? Please understand I have NO skin in this game. I am simply a citizen that recognized a grave error in our judicial system, and decided to do what’s right. Give it a try, it will make you a better person. THANK YOU KEVIN McDUGLE FOR SPEAKING UP FOR WHAT’S RIGHT!

    1. So you went from blindly trusting court verdicts to blindly trusting defense attorneys, eh?

      1. Nope, trusting the evidence. 1. He didn’t fit the description 2. He was in another city at the time of the murder. 3. The actual killer, Chris Jordon confessed to killing Paul Howell at least 3 times. They all signed sworn affidavits to this information. NONE knew each other. NONE of them knew Jones. NONE had anything to gain, unlike the 2 known felons that were given substantial deals in exchange for their testimony against Jones! Do your research, eh!

      2. MTERRIG – you are misinformed: 1- He fit the description, as confirmed by the Howell family in court and provable by the transcripts. 2- Testimony from his then-girlfriend puts him near the crime scene and NOT in another city, and the claims of his family that he was at home eating a birthday cookie are contradicted by independent testimony and literal receipts from shops that date the birthday party to the day before the shooting (oh, and Jones admitted to two different lawyers that the family was incorrect about the birthday). 3- what someone chooses to boast about in jail to improve their reputation is not admissible in court, and contradicts the sworn testimony of those who witnessed events before, during and after the shooting and placed Julius Jones as the murderer. 4- I know you didn’t write a point 4, but I’ll add one in, the DNA on the bandanna that they found the murder weapon in came back as definitely belonging to Jones.

        The man is guilty without any doubt. I’m against the death penalty, and for the reason part of me wants the sentence to be commuted. But he is guilty as heck, and the family shouldn’t have to go through parole hearings every year for the rest of Jones’ life.

    2. Bob Macy filed the charges and did say this horrific murder was a death penalty case. Macy retired months before the trial of Julius Jones, and his deputy Wes Lane became the District Attorney and the prosecutor for this particular case was Assistant District Attorney Sandra Elliott who also appeared at the commutation hearing.

      Macy never made any racial comments like the Arizona lawyers have lied about and he was retired during the trial anyway. Julius Jones pled guilty to an identical ARMED ROBBERY and CARJACKING outside of Hideaway Pizza (gunman in bandanna, gun held to victims head) so regardless of the lies and slogans of the Arizona lawyers, this is a violent criminal.

      The only way to end this is to carry out the sentence that 14 state and federal judges have upheld the jury verdict and sentence,
      Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals rejected the death row inmates who seek to blame (admitted accomplice) Chris Jordan as the real shooter.

      The “spaghetti dinner” alibi was debunked as false at a 3 day evidentiary hearing as Jones lawyer testified Jones himself said it was false, and neighbor Ms. Cudjoe testified that
      she was requested to give and alibi and it was incorrect, and she felt intimidated by their response.

      6 witnesses, DNA match, ballistics and a guilty plea to identical crime, with other similar crimes…

      Kelli Masters says she is “volunteer” but in reality she is hoping to make a bigtime career since Julius has some connections and pro athlete support due to vicarious name recognition with pro athlete Julius Jones

  4. Sad, so sad that some people will art and behave in a way that will live a person in prison for decades to die for what he didn’t do and you sleep in your house in peace without thinking about a person suffering for what he didn’t do and you think you’re Free? Karma will find you, if not you, your generations

  5. 1. I don’t care about your race or political party, what’s right is right. God bless McDugle for speaking up.
    2. Julius was sentenced when Cowboy Bob Macy was District Attorney. Taking shortcuts, using dishonest witnesses, twisting the truth, etc. was normal back than. That’s why nearly HALF of Macy’s 54 death sentences were REVERSED by the courts. Would it surprise anyone that Julius was sentenced when many prosecutors, DAs, cops, etc. would pursue a conviction FIRST, and the truth SECOND?

  6. Brian, Bob Macy was not DA at this time. That is a tipoff that you have many misconceptions about the case.

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