OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – In one week, prosecutors and defense attorneys will meet before the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board for a clemency hearing centered around a high-profile case.
A clemency hearing for Julius Jones is set for Tuesday, Oct. 26.
Jones is on death row for the murder of Edmond businessman Paul Howell, who was shot to death in the driveway of his parents’ Edmond home in July 1999.
“When we pulled up in the driveway and stopped, my dad had kind of cracked the door open. I looked over. I was sitting right behind him, right behind my dad. I was in the backseat right behind the driver’s seat, and I looked over and saw Julius Jones walking up to the car,” Rachel Howell, Paul’s daughter, told KFOR. “It happened so fast, but I saw him walking up, and I remember waving, because I’m a child. I don’t know what’s about to happen. I just remember kind of waving, and he literally shot my dad in the head and did not say a word. He did not say a word. He shot my dad, and I watched my dad’s head go like that. That is the vision that I have every night is my dad’s head falling to the right.”
Investigators say the murderer took off in Howell’s Suburban.
Jones was ultimately arrested and indicted for Howell’s murder. He did not take the stand during the trial. He was found guilty and sentenced to death in 2002.
Since his conviction, there has been a national movement proclaiming his innocence.
“As God is my witness, I was not involved in any way in the crimes that led to Howell being shot and killed,” Jones said in his clemency report. “I have spent the past 20 years on death row for a crime I did not commit, did not witness and was not at.”
However, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater says Jones’ supporters have “disseminated misinformation and lies regarding the trial and evidence” in the case.
In recent weeks, Prater has requested that several members of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board step down from hearing his case.
Last month, the Oklahoma Supreme Court refused to disqualify board members Adam Luck and Kelly Doyle from the case.
The DA filed two motions, accusing Luck and Doyle of being biased and having a conflict of interest and appearance of impropriety.
On Monday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled against Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, saying Luck and Doyle will be able to serve during Jones’ clemency hearing.
KFOR reached out to Prater for comment and he said he could not speculate on why the court ruled in such as a manner since they didn’t file an opinion with the ruling. He adds the Attorney General has a disqualification motion involving Luck and Doyle pending before the Court and he feels it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment.
Last month, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted in favor of commuting Jones’ sentence to life in prison with the possibility of parole, with several members of the board citing doubts in the case.