OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Oklahoma death row inmate Julius Jones’ supporters maintaining his innocence as his commutation hearing approaches. On Wednesday, his team arguing the prosecutions’ case file needs to be made public.
“This isn’t complicated if you ask me. Quite frankly it feels mean-spirited not to release the man’s file,” said Cece Jones-Davis, Julius Jones Coalition founder.
But Julius Jones’ supporters tell KFOR that still hasn’t happened.
“We think that it’s really important when a person’s life is on the line that the prosecutor allow for everyone involved to have access to the information,” Jones-Davis said.
Jones was convicted back in 2002, after the 1999 murder of Paul Howell.
He’s now sitting on death row, hoping for a miracle.
For over 20 years, Jones and his supporters have maintained his innocence.
“Christopher Jordan was the prosecution’s star witness during the trial, and he has admitted to committing the murder at this point many times over. So, we want to know if there’s something in the prosecution’s file about that,” Jones-Davis said.
The Julius Jones Coalition founder also wanting to know if there are details about the deal Jordan cut with the prosecution and if the jury knew about the deal.
With less than a month until Jones’ commutation hearing with the pardon and parole board– time is ticking.
“I’ve just never understood the idea of why things aren’t released. I think when someone’s trying to defend themselves and certainly trying to defend themselves if they’re gonna be put to death, that’s pretty important,” said Christy Sheppard, Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission.
Christy Sheppard served on the Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission, that group recommending, “All Oklahoma district attorneys’ offices and the Office of the Attorney General should be required to allow open-file discovery at all stages of a capital case.”
But Sheppard also has a personal tie to the death penalty. Back in 1982, her cousin Debbie Carter was murdered in Ada. Two men were wrongfully convicted of her murder, covered in a John Grisham novel and Netflix series of the same name.
“It isn’t justice if it’s the wrong person who’s there and I think certainly in death penalty cases when someone has serious claims to innocence, we need to know that we have the right person,” Sheppard said.
District Attorney David Prater sending News 4 this response, saying “all of the convicted killer’s lies and misinformation will be addressed at the hearing.”
That commutation hearing is set for September 13th at 9 a.m.