OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A group of Republican lawmakers are now calling on the governor to grant clemency to Julius Jones just seven days before his scheduled execution.
Representatives John Talley, Logan Phillips, Kevin McDugle, Preston Stinson and Garry Mize released a joint statement on Thursday, some saying there are too many loose ends in the case to sentence Jones to death.
“I still have many constituents who still have questions,” Rep. Stinson said in the release. “I am asking Gov. Stitt to take him off death row and accept the recommendation of his pardon and parole board.”
“The last thing the state should be doing is taking the life of someone who may be innocent,” Rep. Mize said. “There is too much doubt here, especially given that Julius Jones’ codefendant has confessed to being the real murderer. We can’t move forward with an execution under these circumstances in good conscience.”
This week the governor kept his promise to speak with Paul Howell’s family before he makes that decision.
In a recent statement, the family said “While we are keeping the details of the meeting confidential, I will say, the governor and his office were very respectful and I feel that our concerns were heard.”
The family is still hopeful the governor will allow the execution to continue — sentiments they expressed earlier this month after the pardon and parole board recommended clemency for Jones.
“We feel confident that Governor Stitt sees past the propaganda,” said Paul Howell’s brother Brian after the clemency hearing earlier this month. “[We feel confident he] understands protecting the public and sees who Julius Jones really is.”
“He isn’t innocent,” said Paul Howell’s sister Megan Tobey at that same hearing. “He isn’t a good person. He is a murderer, a liar, a thief, a sociopath, a gang member. It just keeps going on and on and he will do this again.”
Jones’ sister, Antoinette Jones, is holding out hope the governor will grant her brother clemency.
“I keep holding on to the fact that he says that he was listening,” she said. “That’s just my optimistic brain thinking about what more do I need to do what more do I need to say.”
She says although she has not yet had the opportunity to speak to the governor, she has a message for him.
“I know this decision is not easy and will not be easy as a leader in the community, ” she said. “This is a spiritual decision, so as your sister in Christ, I’m asking you to let the holy ghost lead you.”
Attorney Kelli Masters, who is also an advocate for jones, has also released a statement saying “Governor Stitt was gracious to take the time to meet with Julius Jones’ legal defense team and we are very thankful.
We believe he listened with the intent to objectively learn the facts of the case and to understand what is at stake.”
KFOR reached out to the governor’s office for an updated timeline for a decision and whether he plans to meet with Jones’ family and are awaiting a response.