OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Advocates for Julius Jones gathered at a rally Saturday to show their support for the man they say is innocent, now calling for Governor Stitt to release him.
“Governor, choose wisely, governor, choose justice, governor, choose mercy…so that it will be well with you, your family, and the citizens of Oklahoma,” said Jones’ spiritual adviser Keith Jossell.
Others used this opportunity to show support for Jones and simultaneously call for the end of the death penalty, including former senator Connie Johnson.
“Our children are watching, they’re watching how we love,” she said. “This, I think, is the biggest reason against the death penalty and what Governor Stitt is considering today.”
Multiple state lawmakers attended the rally including Representatives Forrest Bennett and Jason Lowe.
But not all state legislators oppose the death penalty or the pending execution. Rep. Justin Humphrey told KFOR on Friday there are cases where he doesn’t want to see the death penalty used, but he believes this execution should continue as scheduled.
“Personally, I have not seen anything that has not persuaded me that he hasn’t done it,” he said during a Friday phone call. “In the media publicity that I’ve seen and in the questions at the parole hearing and hearings, it appears that there is evidence that links him.”
The Howell family also maintains that Jones should be executed, saying to KFOR after this month’s clemency hearing that they have no doubt he is the man responsible.
“In order to believe any of Julius Jones’ stance of innocence, you have to basically ignore every fact and every single amount of physical evidence and every testimony and every witness presented by the state,” said Paul Howell’s brother, Brian.
The family also believes a potential release would be dangerous.
“He is a murderer, a liar, a thief, a sociopath, a gang member — it just keeps going on and on,” said Paul Howell’s sister Megan Tobey at the same hearing. “He will do this again.”
KFOR has reached out to the governor’s office multiple times throughout the week on an updated timeline for his decision and are awaiting a response.