Julius Jones to Speak Publicly for First Time at Clemency Hearing
Beverly Cantrell - October 26, 2021 11:52 am
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — UPDATE: The clemency hearing for Julius Jones has been postponed to Monday, November 1st, at 9 a.m. Tom Bates, with the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, delayed the clemency hearing until after a ruling has been made on an appeal to a federal judge’s decision Monday to not delay executions while a federal lawsuit plays out.
Next week Julius Jones will have his clemency hearing, appearing by video from the state penitentiary in McAlester.
After more than two decades on death row, Jones is just weeks away from his scheduled execution.
For years, Jones and his supporters have argued he’s innocent after he was arrested for killing Edmond businessman Paul Howell.
Now, he’s getting the chance to speak directly to the pardon and parole board for the first time.
“Julius is thankful that he’s getting this opportunity to really share this heart and share the truth and get to speak for the first time publicly,” said Kelly Masters, a supporter of Jones who spoke at his September commutation hearing.
Masters has met with Jones in person and expects his appearance to make a difference.
“I think they may be as surprised as I was when I first met Julius,” Masters said. “I think I expected to meet this, you know, hardened criminal, and in fact he was very thoughtful, he’s a very smart, now well-read young man who has really aspirations for making a difference in the world.”
In September, the board voted to recommend Jones’s sentence be commuted to life with the possibility of parole.
Ultimately, it’s up to the Governor whether he takes their recommendation on clemency.
Earlier this month, Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor got involved.
He’s asking the state supreme court to disqualify two pardon and parole board members, including the chair, who voted to commute Jones’s sentence in September.
On Monday night, the court had not made a ruling, but it recently denied a similar request from Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater.
Julius Jones seen being taken into the courtroom in 1999. (FILE)