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The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (OK-CADP) will feature a former Pardon and Parole Board member as the keynote speaker at its 31st Annual Awards Dinner and Meeting on Saturday, June 24, at 7 p.m. at New Covenant Christian Church.
“I will speak about my experience as a member and chairman of the pardon and parole board and the convictions that guided my votes during that time,” Adam Luck said, according to a press release.
Each year OK-CADP gives awards to community leaders who’ve advocated for life over death. Last year’s winners include Jabee Williams, an OKC rapper and activist whose longtime friend Julius Jones was spared from a death sentence hours before his planned execution in November 2021.
For his part, Adam Luck spearheaded the Parole Board’s commutation and clemency hearings for Julius Jones, who has maintained his innocence in the 1999 killing of Edmond business man Paul Howell amid a racist jury member, prosecutorial misconduct, and a confession from a co-defendant who has since been released from prison.
Oklahoma executions continue
Adam Luck’s leadership on the Parole Board marked the first time in state history that a death row detainee was recommended for a commuted sentence by a majority of the board when they voted in favor of Jones in 2021. He was ultimately sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole by Gov. Stitt.
“I know I will be free someday. I just wish I didn’t have to continue to wait. Mentally I’m still trying to recover from all that’s happened,” Julius Jones told The Black Wall Street Times last year via a phone recording with his sister, Antoinette.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma has executed eight men since a moratorium on executions was lifted in June 2021, with seven more scheduled this year.
Even more would’ve been undertaken, but the newly elected Attorney General, Gentner Drummond, spaced out the dates of upcoming executions. He made the decision after being the first Oklahoma AG in decades to witness an execution and listen to the mental health concerns from prison staff.
Dinner to celebrate abolitionists
Luck serves as Chief Executive Officer of City Care, a nonprofit organization seeking “to inspire those willing to look social injustice and extreme poverty in the face and empower them to do whatever to create change.” City Care has built and manages 112 units of permanent, supportive housing in Oklahoma City, oversees the Whiz Kids program, and operates Oklahoma’s only low-barrier night shelter program.
Luck is also an Oklahoma native who left the state to serve five years in the U.S. Air Force as a Korean Cryptologic Linguist. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Global Security and Intelligence Studies from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University.
“I am grateful to the coalition for the opportunity to come share more about my experience on the board and the concerns that service left me with about the state of Oklahoma and how we make one of the most important decisions a society can make about one of its members, that of whether they live or die,” Luck added.
The June 24 event will feature a buffet dinner and a program in which OK-CADP will honor members of the coalition’s community with the organization’s Abolitionist Awards: The Phil Wahl Abolitionist of the Year Award, the Opio Toure Courageous Advocate Award and the Lifetime Abolitionist Award.
The dinner will also be live-streamed via zoom. For more information, visit the OK-CADP Facebook event page. Registration for the event begins at 5:30 and the program starts at 7 p.m.