His name could have become just another statistic in US death penalty records, but this Thursday Julius Jones, a black inmate charged with murder, was not executed in the state of Oklahoma and his sentence was commuted in extremis for life imprisonment.
The measure came after a feat that attracted celebrities and thousands of people -6.5 million signatories on the platform Change.org, among others – who supported his plea for clemency.
The Governor of Oklahoma, Kevin Stitt, issued an executive order Thursday switch the death penalty for the perpetual, although he vetoed the possibility of him getting parole or granting him any other pardon or benefit of this type.
Who is Julius Jones?
Jones, now 41, was arrested at 19 for the shooting murder, on July 28, 1999, of businessman Paul Howell, during the theft of a vehicle in Edmond, a town near Oklahoma City.
The young man, then a recipient of a scholarship from the University of Oklahoma, was accused and sentenced to capital punishment, what has kept it for more than two decades on death row.
Jones’ case achieved notoriety in the United States thanks to “The Last Defense”, a series broadcast by ABC that sought to expose the flaws in American justice and had among its producers the actress Viola Davis.
Throughout three chapters issued in July 2018, the story of Jones was narrated, who has been insisting on his innocence for years.
“Justice For Julius” (Justice for Julius) became a cause embraced by family members and activists who have questioned the process against Jones.
Among the objections described by his defense in the petition for clemency and on the platform Change.org stand out, among others, that there are eyewitnesses that point out that Jones was at his parents’ home, that is, “miles away” from the scene at the time of the murder.
Furthermore, they indicate that another defendant for the murder, Christopher Jordan allegedly “admitted to being involved in the crime” and now he is free after spending fifteen years in jail.
Billy Bock, Jordan’s attorney, told ABC News that his client maintains that his role was to be an “accomplice” of Jones and he denies having confessed to “anyone” his alleged guilt.
Another of the allegations of those who support Jones is that at least one juror was “racially prejudiced” and that his defense attorneys “inexperienced, overworked” and “under-resourced.”
Kim Kardashian, ally
One of the voices that have been raised in favor of Jones is that of Kim kardashian, who He has referred to his case on his Twitter account.
In the past, Kardashian has expressed to her millions of followers her concern about the situation of this man, and has even encouraged them to intercede with the Oklahoma Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Oklahoma Governor.
“I am very grateful to everyone who used their voice and they helped save Julius’s life today. Thanks to the parole board and Governor Stitt, “the celebrity wrote on the social network on Thursday.
In addition, Kim Kardashian has criticized on Twitter the “cold machinery of the death penalty in the United States.”
What does the victim’s family say?
By cons, the victim’s family He has described the opinions as wrong around the case.
“They want people to believe that Julius Jones is completely innocent, despite the overwhelming amount of evidence against him “, Rachel, daughter of the murdered businessman, told the television network CNN.
The woman even asked the Oklahoma Board of Pardons and Paroles make a “fair and impartial decision”, although this instance finally recommended on November 1 to the governor of Oklahoma to pardon Jones.