OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Within hours of the scheduled execution of convicted killer Julius Jones, prayer appears to be the all-around theme – from Jones’ family who held a vigil Tuesday night, to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who is said to be praying to God over his decision on whether the death row inmate will live or die.
Jones was convicted in the 1999 murder of Edmond businessman Paul Howell. Howell was gunned down in front of his children soon after pulling into the driveway of his parents’ home.
Last week, the Howell family was strong in their stance, calling Jones a “murderer, liar, thief and sociopath.” They expressed confidence that the governor will see past any propaganda after their meeting with him.
However, as of Tuesday night, Jones’ family is still holding out hope for a meeting of their own with Stitt. The execution is scheduled for Thursday.
Tuesday morning, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol created a barricade around the governor’s mansion to provide a safe place for those who want to peacefully gather. The barricade consisted of barrels and yellow tape.
Later in the afternoon, Derrick Scobey, senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, said he spoke with Stitt’s Chief of Communications Charlie Hannema and General Counsel Trevor Pemberton about how the governor is doing as he decides whether Jones will be executed or granted clemency.
“The conversation centered around prayer,” Scobey said. “The governor is in a time of prayer about the matter at hand as to whether or not to to grant clemency or not to Julius Jones. He’s praying about the next steps of Julius Jones.”
Jones’ sister, Antoinette Jones, is satisfied to hear what the governor is up to.
“It was comforting to know he was in deep prayer with just God and him,” she said. “There’s something about just having the presence of you and Him. That means a lot to me.”
KFOR asked the Governor’s office for an update, and his chief of communications sent a statement saying,
“The governor takes his role in this process seriously and is carefully considering the Pardon and Parole Board’s recommendation as he does in all cases. There will not be any further comment until the governor has made a decision.”
Supporters of Jones said they’ll remain across the street from the governor’s mansion for all of Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, remaining in prayer and solitude.