OKLAHOMA CITY – The appeals case for a death row inmate in Oklahoma who has maintained his innocence just received a major blow on Wednesday.
In July of 1999, Edmond businessman Paul Howell was shot and killed in the driveway of his parents’ Edmond home. Investigators say the alleged suspect took off in Howell’s Suburban after killing the businessman.
At the time of the crime, Julius Jones was a 19-year-old honor student on a scholarship at the University of Oklahoma.
Jones was arrested and was put on trial for the murder. Jones never took the stand, and he was ultimately convicted and sentenced to death.
His supporters said his original defense team failed him, never even bringing up his alibi for the night of the murder.
“Defense team didn’t present any evidence of his alibi, didn’t call his parents and his brother and sister I think were all home playing board games with him,” said Reverend Don Heath, chairman of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said those defending Jones have “disseminated misinformation and lies regarding the trial and evidence” in the case.
The Jones family has always maintained Julius’ innocence.
Last year, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed Jones’ petition to present new evidence of racial bias in his case.
Now, his appear has hit another roadblock.
On Monday, it was learned the U.S. Supreme Court would not review Jones' sentence.
More appeals are expected in the case.