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The death penalty in the USA. Convicted of murder pardoned just before execution. He got a life sentence

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Just before his execution, convicted of the murder Julius Jones was pardoned by Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. The man’s sentence was commuted with the death penalty to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt pardoned on Thursday shortly before the execution of convict Julius Jones of the murder, moderating his death sentence to life imprisonment without parole. According to CNN, the decision was notified a few hours before the execution was scheduled for 4 p.m. local time.


Jones’ case attracted attention, among other things, thanks to the ABC series “The Last Defense”. Over 6 million people have signed an online petition urging Stitt to intervene and prevent Jones’ execution. The verdict sparked off many protests.

“The Republican governor made his decision after ‘prayerful consideration and reading of material from all sides of the case,’ CNN noted.

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Jones’s attorney, Amanda Bass, called the governor’s decision “an important step towards restoring public faith in the criminal justice system by ensuring that Oklahoma does not execute an innocent man.” Jones added that Jones’ family and supporters hoped he would be paroled.

Oklahoma governor relaxes life sentence for man convicted of manslaughterReuters

Julius Jones convicted of manslaughter

The man was convicted of the murder of Paul Howell in 1999 in a car robbery. On July 28, around 9.30 pm, his sister and daughters got out of the vehicle in front of their parents’ house and heard shots. They noticed a black man. Howell died around 1:45 the next morning.

Jones, his family, attorneys and supporters allege he is innocent. “The pardon claim argues that he was put on death row for ‘fundamental flaws in the system’, including ineffective and inexperienced defense lawyers, racial prejudice among the jury and alleged prosecution misconduct,” reminds CNN.

Jones, then 19, was arrested the day after the murder weapon was found in his family’s home. He was tried with his co-accused, Christopher Jordan, sentenced to 30 years in prison. He testified against Jones and was released in 2014.

Confusion about Julius Jones’ death sentence

According to CNN, there is a lot of ambiguity in the case, among others regarding the reliability of Jordan’s and his family’s testimony that he was home at the time of the robbery. He mentions several people who, according to Jordan, confessed to killing Howell and hiding a gun in Jones’ house.

Howell’s family remains convinced of Jones’ guilt. She repeated this in the issued statement. “We know Governor Stitt had a difficult decision to make. We take comfort in the fact that his decision confirmed Julius Jones’s guilt and he will not qualify for the rest of his life for leniency, pardon or parole. Julius Jones changed our lives forever” – proclaims, inter alia, statement.

The last two decades have been “a nightmare for my family” – emphasized in turn the mother of the convict, Madeleine Davis-Jones. She said she would pray for the Howells.

Main photo source: Reuters

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