Abu-Ali Abdur' Rahman a/k/a James Lee Jones, Jr., Tennessee

Update: Friday, August 30, 2019, 6:33 pm EDT

Abu-Ali Abdur’ Rahman, a/k/a James Lee Jones, Jr., has had his sentence commuted to life in prison.  In 2016, a Nashville judge ruled that Abu-Ali was to be granted a new trial due to possible prosecutorial misconduct and inadequate legal representation for Abu-Ali. Now all parties, including a Nashville judge, have agreed to a deal that removes Abu-Ali from death row, committing his sentence to life in prison. Abu-Ali was scheduled to be executed on April 16, 2020.

Update: Monday, September 21, 2015 9:24 am EDT

Abu-Ali Abdur’ Rahman, a/k/a James Lee Jones, Jr., was scheduled to be executed at 7:10 pm CDT, on Tuesday, October 6, 2015, at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institute in Nashville, Tennessee. Abu-Ali’s execution has been stayed. Sixty-four-year-old Abu-Ali was convicted of the murder of Patrick Daniel on February 17, 1986, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Abu-Ali had a difficult childhood, often suffering from beatings, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, and torture at the hands of his father. One of Abu-Ali’s siblings, who was also abused, committed suicide in 1997, while a third, his sister, has spent significant time in a mental institute. The family moved frequently when Abu-Ali was a child, as his father was in the military. At the age of 18, Abu-Ali spent time in a federal youth facility after being convicted of robbery. While at the facility, Abu-Ali was repeatedly raped by a gang leader, whom he eventually killed.

After being released from prison for murder, Abu-Ali eventually moved to Nashville, Tennessee and reunited with one of his brothers. He also joined the Southeast Gospel Ministry, a Black consciousness religion organization with the purported goal of improving the African-American community. Abu-Ali Abdur’ Rahman, then known as James Lee Jones, alleges that it was this religious group that sent him, along with his co-worker, Harold Devalle Miller, to the home of Patrick Daniels, a small-time marijuana dealer, in Nashville, on February 17, 1986. Upon arriving at Harold’s apartment, Jones and Miller forced their way inside and discovered Harold’s girlfriend, Norma Norman, and her two children also at the apartment.



The two children were locked in a bedroom, while Norma and Harold would bound with duct tape and blindfolded. Both were also stabbed. One of the stab wounds pierced Harold’s aorta artery, killing him. Jones and Miller had intended to simply scare Harold into the leaving the neighborhood.


Two days later, Jones and Miller were both identified as suspects by the police. Miller fled the state, while Jones continued working as if nothing was wrong. Jones claimed he had no memory of the crime. Approximately one year later, police finally arrested Miller, who agreed to testify against Jones in exchange for a 25 year sentence. Miller has since been released from prison.


While in prison, James Jones converted to Islam and changed his name to Abu-Ali Abdur’ Rahman. Since his trial, Abu-Ali has alleged that he had ineffective trial counsel, a claim which is not disputed by his trial attorney, who says that he was overworked during the trial, missed numerous filing deadlines, and found the trial date unexpectedly creeping up on him, leaving him with little to prepare a proper defense or investigate mitigating evidence. Mitigating evidence included claims of mental incompetency and prolonged stays at mental institutions during Abu-Ali’s life, in addition to numerous mental illness diagnoses.


Supporters of Abu-Ali also point to physical evidence that was not shown jurors, which could have caused doubts abut Abu-Ali’s guilt. Supports also claim that the prosecution misled jurors to believe facts that were not true or that had been exaggerated.


Abu-Ali has had at least two previous execution dates. His current execution date has been stayed by the Tennessee Supreme Court in order to consider the constitutionality of Tennessee’s current execution protocol.


Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Patrick Daniel. Please pray for the family of Abu-Ali. Please pray that Abu-Ali is innocent or lacks the competency to be executed, evidence will be presented prior to his execution. Please pray that Abu-Ali will come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.



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