Vigil in support of Julius Jones continues as affected families await Oklahoma governor’s execution decision


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Supporters for Julius Jones are continuing to keep a vigil – awaiting Governor Kevin Stitt’s decision to commute, or allow the execution of the death row inmate.

Jones’ execution date is now just two days away.

A local minister has offered to take the death row inmate’s place Tuesday at the state Capitol.

“So I would like the Governor to allow me to lie on that table and to die in place of Julius Jones,” said Marvin Morgan of United Church of Christ.

The family of murder victim Paul Howell is also waiting– and they believe justice will be served with Jones’ death.

KFOR spoke to a former law school dean with a legal argument for why Jones should not be put to death.

“I know that the record of Julius Jones is that he has done some crimes but not Capital crimes, but now he’s convicted of a capital crime and sentenced to death,” said Larry Hellman.

Larry Hellman is a retired Dean of Oklahoma City University School of Law.

He is one of many closely watching the Jones decision…

In an open letter to the governor, Hellman recommended following the recommendation of the pardon and parole board.

“They aren’t recommending that he be set free. They aren’t saying he’s innocent,” said Hellman. “They are saying that there are enough doubts about the accuracy of the trial to justify sparing his life.”

Hellman pointed out that seven death row inmates have been exonerated since 1993.

He told KFOR that statistic should be enough evidence the justice system can and does make mistakes.

“The criminal justice system is not well-served if we execute Someone where there are, in the view of pardon and parole board, substantial doubts about the accuracy of the conviction,” said Hellman. 

Governor Stitt’s Office released this statement:

“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 the death row inmate continue to hope for an audience with Governor Stitt Tuesday.

The Howell family maintains Jones is the man responsible and should die for his crime.

“We feel confident Governor Stitt sees past Jones propaganda and sees who Julius Jones really is,” said Paul Howell’s brother Brian after Jones’ clemency hearing. “The facts are, and always overwhelming pointed toward his guilt.”

Jones’ execution is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 18th

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