Correction: An earlier version of this story had an inaccuracy which has been corrected.
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – High-profile death row inmate Julius Jones went before the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board on Monday to ask for clemency.
“The 10th Circuit stayed Mr. Grant’s execution so that issues about midazolam could be resolved at trial in February. And that’s why the U.S. Supreme Court should not have lifted the stay,” Dale Baich, federal public defender for death row inmates John Grant and Julius Jones, said.
That ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court last week, led to the execution of Oklahoma death row inmate John Grant, also included the lifting of a stay of execution for high-profile death row inmate Julius Jones. That means Jones’ scheduled execution on Nov.18 could happen, depending on what happens during his clemency hearing on Monday.
“My cup is overflowing. When God blesses me, he bless me overly abundant,” Madeline Davis-Jones, Jones’ mom, said back on Sept. 13.
On Sept. 13, the pardon and parole board voted 3-1 to recommend commutation for Jones, which was later denied by Gov. Kevin Stitt.
Stitt said he wanted to wait until after Jones’ clemency hearing to make his decision about the case.
Jones was convicted of killing Paul Howell in an Edmond driveway in 1999. He has maintained that he is innocent all these years.
However, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, Attorney General John O’Connor and the Howell family believe he is the killer.
“Our family continues to be victimized by Julius Jones and his lies,” Brian Howell, Paul’s brother, said.
If Jones is executed in November, it would be Oklahoma’s second execution following an almost seven-year hiatus due to several botched executions.
Grant’s execution on Friday, the first after all of those years, is being criticized as “botched” and “inhumane” by his attorneys and death penalty opponents because witnesses said Grant started violently convulsing and vomiting after the first drug in Oklahoma’s three-drug cocktail was administered.
The cocktail is at the center of an upcoming trial in February, which will challenge whether it’s constitutional.
However, officials with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections said the execution was carried out “without complication.” They made that statement despite eyewitness accounts that said Grant convulsed and vomited during the exeuction.
Governor Stitt said in a statement:
“The Department of Corrections carried out the law of the State of Oklahoma and delivered justice to Gay Carter’s family.”
All eyes will be on Stitt and the pardon and parole board Monday as Jones makes his final plea for his life.
Jones spoke for the first time during Monday’s hearing, saying he is innocent of the crime and is not a violent man.
After several hours of testimony, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted 3-1 to recommend clemency for Jones. At the same time, they recommended to commute his sentence to life with the possibility of parole.
Now, it will be up to Gov. Stitt to decide whether to approve or deny Jones’ clemency.
“Governor Stitt is aware of the Pardon and Parole Board’s vote today. Our office will not offer further comment until the Governor has made a final decision,” Communications Director Carly Atchison said in a statement.
“The Pardon and Parole Board has now twice voted in favor of commuting Julius Jones’s death sentence, acknowledging the grievous errors that led to his conviction and death sentence. We hope that Governor Stitt will exercise his authority to accept the Board’s recommendation and ensure that Oklahoma does not execute an innocent man,” said Amanda Bass, an attorney for Julius Jones.
“Clemency is an appropriate recommendation in this case. No matter the guilt or innocence of Julius Jones, there is doubt. The death penalty is final and leaves no opportunity to seek the truth. Please pray for the children, family and friends of Paul Howell who have endured years of appeals and hearings while grieving tremendous loss. As Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount, ‘Blessed are the merciful for they will receive mercy,” Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City, said in a statement.