OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The pastor of an Oklahoma City church renowned for its many charitable acts who was arrested Wednesday for standing in the street outside the Governor’s Mansion in support of Julius Jones is now speaking out.
“I simply did something that I was hoping and praying would send a particular message,” said Pastor Derrick Scobey with Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Senior Pastor Derrick Scobey told KFOR he’d send the message all over again.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers arrested Pastor Derrick Scobey of Ebenezer Baptist Church at around 7:15 p.m. Wednesday.
Troopers placed barricades in preparation for Julius Jones’ execution.
“The implications of this execution would’ve been far-reaching and catastrophic,” said Scobey. “I don’t know if our state would’ve rebounded from this for decades.”
Scobey was the only person arrested at the scene and now facing obstructing an officer and failure to disperse charges for crossing the barricades and standing in the street.
Now, Governor Stitt’s decision to commute Jones’s sentence leaves Scobey and other religious leaders relieved.
“The reality is that the execution of Julius Jones would’ve brought no closure,” said Scobey.
“Execution is only state-sanctioned violence, and I don’t think we need to resort to that in the future going forward,” said Archbishop Paul Coakley.
Archbishop Coakley shares his thoughts about the death penalty in general.
“It’s not just an anti-death penalty posture, but it’s really a pro-life posture,” said Archbishop Coakley. “It’s not to be soft on crime. It’s to be strong on the dignity of every human life.”
As of now, Jones will spend the rest of his life in prison. Scobey told KFOR he is holding out hope.
“I wish it would’ve been life with the possibility of parole, but the reality is this, we can have a new governor at some point, and that governor can certainly pardon Julius,” said Scobey.