During a Wednesday presser, Baker Mayfield — present quarterback for the Cleveland Browns and former Heisman winner from the University of Oklahoma — pleaded with Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt to grant clemency to Julius Jones, who was scheduled to be executed by the state on Thursday. The story has since unfold amongst sports activities followers and reporters, and now many customers have discovered of Stitt’s determination to commute Jones’ sentence from NBA insider Shams Charania this afternoon.
Here’s the background on Julius Jones:
In 1999, the state convicted Julius Jones, then 19, of the homicide of Paul Howell, a businessman within the prosperous Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond. Jones has maintained his innocence for greater than twenty years.
The Jones case drew consideration after ABC profiled it in The Last Defense, a three-episode documentary. Since the doc aired in 2018, athletes with ties to Oklahoma — together with Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, Trae Young, and Mayfield — have pushed for Stitt to commute Jones’ dying sentence. Kim Kardashian West additionally visited Jones in jail.
According to ABC, Jones’ attorneys have argued the next:
Jones alleges that his co-defendant Christopher Jordan, who testified towards him, really killed Howell after which framed Jones for the crime.
“Paul Howell’s sister, Megan Tobey, who was an eyewitness to her brother’s killing, testified in court that the gunman was wearing a stocking cap that came down ‘about a half an inch to an inch’ above his ears, and that hair was sticking out from both sides. Jones’ attorneys suggest this was a better description of Jones’ co-defendant who testified against him, Christopher Jordan, who had corn-row braids at the time, and that the jury was never shown a photo of Jones taken a week before the murder that showed him with short, close-cropped hair.”
In distinction, “prosecutors say Tobey testified she never saw braids and that her testimony was referring to how much hair was visible between the top of the ear and the stocking cap, not the hair length. Prosecutors also note that a federal district court addressed this issue, noting ‘the length of (Jones’) hair compared to Mr. Jordan’s is not a persuasive showing of actual innocence.’”
Jones’ alibi is one other level of rivalry within the case. Jones and his household say that he was at house with them on the evening of Howell’s homicide however that nobody in court docket offered this data throughout the trial.
Prosecutors name that accusation a “blatant falsehood.” According to ABC, the prosecutors say, “Jones’ trial attorney never called the family to the witness stand because Jones repeatedly told his attorneys that he was not at home on the night of the murder. They also note that three people saw Jones with Howell’s stolen Suburban shortly after the killing. Even Jones’ trial attorney, David McKenzie, wrote in an affidavit that he ‘personally concluded that the alibi defense was untrue.’”
Police discovered the homicide weapon wrapped in a bandana believed to have been worn by the shooter in an attic area above Jones’ bed room, per Axios. The bandana had Jones’ DNA on it. Jones claims Christopher Jordan positioned the weapon in his attic after killing Howell.
Then there’s the racial angle to this case. After Jones’ conviction, a juror in Jones’ trial wrote in an affidavit that one other juror used a racial epithet and stated that the jurors themselves ought to take Jones behind the jail and shoot him.
“Prosecutors argue that when the trial judge asked her about this allegation the day after the alleged incident, she never mentioned the racial epithet. And the judge’s bailiff signed an affidavit saying the juror never reported this, as she said she did.”
So everybody has an opinion on a sophisticated matter. And within the eleventh hour on Thursday, Gov. Kevin Stitt granted Julius Jones clemency, which can commute his dying sentence to life in jail with out the chance of parole.
Stitt stated in a statement that he has determined to take action “[a]fter prayerful consideration and reviewing materials presented by all sides of this case.”
Ultimately, it’s unclear whether or not last-ditch efforts this week from in style figures like Baker Mayfield performed a task in Stitt’s determination. However, the general public pleas did certainly unfold consciousness concerning the case to individuals who had been beforehand unfamiliar with it.