OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Cleveland Browns quarterback and former Sooner Baker Mayfield has now joined the list of professional athletes who are urging Governor Kevin Stitt and the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board to consider Julius Jones’ application for commutation.
“It’s really been an incredible show of support,” CeCe Jones Davis, the founder of the Julius Jones Coalition, told KFOR on Monday.
The support for Oklahoma death row inmate Julius Jones continues to grow.
Jones was included in the list of demands that Black Lives Matter Oklahoma City sent to Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt earlier this month.
“We are also asking for the granting of clemency and immediate release of wrongfully charged and convicted member of our community, our brother, Julius Jones,” Sheri Dickerson, the director of Black Lives Matter Oklahoma City, said on June 1.
Several professional athletes have also sent letters to Gov. Stitt and the Pardon and Parole Board, urging them to consider Jones’ application for commutation.
“We’re thankful for Blake Griffin and Trae Young and Russel Westbrook,” Davis said. “Baker Mayfield, whose letter came out today.”
In that letter from Mayfield, he wrote:
Dear Governor Stitt and Members of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board,
Oklahoma has been a home to myself, my former teammates and coaches, and a place of incredible support for many years. I care deeply for the people of Oklahoma, and that is why I am eagerly writing in support of Julius Jones, a young man I believe has been wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to death.
Based on my personal review, the errors and shortcomings in Julius’ trial have been well documented and are too numerous to be listed in this letter. The inconsistent (and unchallenged) testimony of Julius’ co-defendant, the obviously inexperienced and unmotivated defense team, and the eye-witness description of a shooter that clearly did not match Julius are by themselves enough to cast doubt on his guilt.
Beyond the obvious shortcomings of the trial, another issue that continues to weigh on me is the obvious racial bias that permeated Julius’ arrest, prosecution, and conviction. Every American is supposed to be guaranteed a fair and impartial trial. But when your arresting officer calls you the “n-word,” when a juror calls you the “n-word” and when all of this unfolds in the context of decades of death penalty convictions slanted against black men, it is impossible to conclude that Julius received fair and impartial treatment.
The Oklahomans I met are not racist; they are not mean-spirited, and they do not wish to participate in injustice in this day and age. That is why I am confident that when Oklahomans become aware of the facts surrounding Julius Jones and his conviction, they will demand that his sentence be commuted. I am honored to use my voice to speak up for Julius Jones. I ask respectfully that you review his commutation application with fairness and compassion.
Boomer!Letter from Baker Mayfield
“The last thing I think that anybody in Oklahoma would want to do is to get down the road and realize we’ve executed a wrongfully convicted person,” Davis said.
In 2002, Jones was convicted of murdering Paul Howell, who was shot to death in his Edmond driveway in 1999.
Jones has maintained his innocence for the past 20 years.
“The U.S. Supreme Court twice decline to look at the issues in Julius’ case, issues related to racism,” Dale Baich, one of Julius’ federal defense attorneys, told KFOR back in October.
Now, a recommended commutation by the Pardon and Parole Board and a stamp of approval from Gov. Stitt is Julius’ only chance at escaping death, which could be scheduled in the fall.
“It’s time. This has been 21 years now and this young man hasn’t had a fair opportunity and it’s time,” Davis said.
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater has said those defending Jones have “disseminated misinformation and lies regarding the trial and evidence” in the case.
Gov. Stitt’s office sent KFOR the following statement about the case:
“The governor is aware of Mr. Jones’ case. However, the governor is not commenting on the clemency application at this time, as it must first go through the formal review process with the Pardon and Parole Board before a recommendation is made to his office.”Baylee Lakey, communications director for Gov. Stitt.