Students at excessive faculties throughout Oklahoma City walked out of their lessons. Prayer vigils have been held on the state Capitol, and barricades have been erected outdoors the governor’s mansion. Even Baker Mayfield, quarterback for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, weighed in on Oklahoma’s highest-profile execution in a long time.
Julius Jones, 41, who has maintained his innocence for greater than 20 years, is scheduled to obtain a deadly injection Thursday on the State Penitentiary in McAlester for the 1999 slaying of Paul Howell, a businessman within the prosperous Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond.
Mayfield, a Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Oklahoma, is amongst a number of high-profile athletes and entertainers who’ve weighed in on Jones’ case, urging Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt to commute his sentence and spare his life.
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“Yeah, it’s pretty rough, to be honest with you,” Mayfield stated Wednesday, pausing and his eyes filling with tears. “That’s not something that’s easy to talk about. Been trying to get the facts stated and the truth to be told for a while.
“It’s a disgrace that it’s gotten this far, 24 hours away.”
Stitt has been tight-lipped about the case, but has met with Jones’ attorneys and Howell’s family.
Jones’ mother, Madeline Davis-Jones, who tried unsuccessfully to meet with Stitt on Monday, spoke to a group of about 300 people, many of them students from nearby high schools, who gathered at the Capitol on Wednesday outside of Stitt’s office, chanted and sang hymns.
“I don’t want to go to a lynching tomorrow,” Davis-Jones stated, her voice rising with emotion. “Why would I want to see someone hang? We should be through with that. Do you want your baby, your child to be hanged?”
Jones maintains he was framed by the precise killer, a highschool pal and co-defendant who testified in opposition to him and was launched from jail after 15 years.
State and county prosecutors have stated the proof in opposition to Jones is overwhelming. Trial transcripts present witnesses recognized Jones because the shooter and positioned him with Howell’s stolen automobile. Investigators additionally discovered the homicide weapon wrapped in a bandana with Jones’ DNA in an attic area above his bed room. Jones claims the homicide weapon was positioned there by the precise killer, who visited Jones’ home after Howell was shot.
The state’s Pardon and Parole Board twice voted 3-1 to suggest Stitt grant clemency to Jones and commute his sentence to life in jail.
Stitt spokesman Charlie Hannema stated “the governor takes his role in this process seriously and is carefully considering the Pardon and Parole Board’s recommendation as he does in all cases.”
Paul Howell’s sister, Megan Tobey, testified earlier than the board that she distinctly remembers seeing Jones shoot her brother in entrance of his two younger daughters.
“He is the same person today as he was 22 years ago. He’s still getting into trouble. He’s still in a gang. He’s still lying. And he still feels no shame, guilt or remorse for his action,” Tobey stated. “We need Julius Jones to be held responsible.”
In a separate vote on Wednesday, the identical board voted 3-2 to grant clemency to one other demise row inmate, Bigler Stouffer, citing considerations with the state’s deadly injection protocols. Stouffer is scheduled to die on Dec. 9.
Jones’ case was profiled in “The Last Defense,” a three-episode documentary produced by actress Viola Davis that aired on ABC in 2018. Since then, Kim Kardashian West and athletes with Oklahoma ties, together with Mayfield and NBA stars Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin and Trae Young, have urged Stitt to commute Jones’ demise sentence.
Oklahoma ended a six-year moratorium on executions — introduced on by considerations over its deadly injection strategies — final month. John Marion Grant, 60, convulsed and vomited as he was being put to demise Oct. 28.
Grant was the primary individual in Oklahoma to be executed since a collection of flawed deadly injections in 2014 and 2015 led to a de facto moratorium. Richard Glossip was simply hours away from being executed in September 2015 when jail officers realized they’d acquired the fallacious deadly drug. It was later discovered the identical fallacious drug had been used to execute an inmate in January 2015.
The drug mix-ups adopted a botched execution in April 2014 wherein inmate Clayton Lockett struggled on a gurney earlier than dying 43 minutes into his deadly injection — and after the state’s prisons chief ordered executioners to cease.
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