Sunday, June 23, 2024

Oklahoma Governor Spares Julius Jones Before November 18, 2021 Execution

Julius Jones, Oklahoma 

Updated: Monday, November 22, 2021

Julius JonesJulius Darius Jones was scheduled to be executed on Thursday, November 18, 2021, at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma.  Hours before his execution, Julius was granted clemency by Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt.  Forty-one-year-old Julius is convicted of murdering Paul Howell on July 28, 1999, in Edmond, Oklahoma.  Julius has been on death row in Oklahoma for 19 years.

During high school, Julius was an honor student and a member of the National Honor Society.  He was also the co-captain of the football, basketball, and track teams.  After graduating with a 3.8 GPA, Julius received a “presidential leadership” scholarship to the University of Oklahoma.  He was also an athlete while at college.  Julius was later linked to a carjacking and jewelry store robbery.

On Wednesday, July 28, 1999, Paul Howell was shot in the driveway of his parents’ house in Edmond, Oklahoma.  Paul, his two young daughters, and his sister, Megan Tobey, had just returned from a shopping trip.  Megan was exiting the vehicle when she heard a gunshot.  She turned and saw Paul slumped over in the driver’s seat.  Megan described the shooter as a young black male, wearing a white T-shirt, with a stocking cap on his head and a bandanna over his face.  The man demanded the keys to vehicle.  

Megan helped the children out of the car, directing them towards the house.  Megan and the girls entered the house, yelling for help.  When Paul’s parents ran outside, they found Paul lying on the driveway.  The car was also gone.  Paul died several hours later from the gunshot to his head.

Police found the missing vehicle two days after the shooting.  The owner of a local garage said a man, Ladell King, attempted to sell him the vehicle.  King then told police that he had promised to help Christopher Jordan and Julius Jones find a buyer for the stolen vehicle.  Further, King said that the night of the shooting, Jordan came to King’s apartment.  Jones arrived at the apartment a short time later, driving the stolen vehicle.  Jones was also wearing a white T-shirt, black stocking cap, and red bandana.  

Police arrested Jordan on July 30, 1999.  The following day, Jones was arrested.  During a search of Jones’ bedroom, police discovered the murder weapon wrapped in a red bandana

In exchange for a plea deal, Jordan agreed to testify against Jones.  Jordan testified that Jones was the shooter. Jones was convicted and sentenced to death.  Jordan has since been released from prison.

Jones has always insisted he is innocent of Paul’s murder.  In 2018, his innocence claims were highlighted on the ABC television documentary series, “The Last Defense.”  Since the show, Jones has gained national attention and support.  Most recently, celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Baker Mayfield, Trae Young, Blake Griffin and Russell Westbrook, have voiced support for Jones. 

Earlier this year, Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board voted to commute Jones’ sentenced to life in prison.  More recently, The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended that Julius be given a sentence of life in prison, with the possibility of parole.  Hours before Jones’ execution, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt granted clemency, sparing him from execution.  Jones’ sentence was commuted to life in prison, without the possibility of parole.

Pray for peace and healing for the family of Paul Howell.  Pray that Julius may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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