OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has announced he is commuting the death sentence of condemned inmate Julius Jones, just hours before his scheduled execution.
Stitt announced his decision on Thursday to commute Jones’ sentence to life in prison with no chance of parole.
The state’s Pardon and Parole Board had recommended that Stitt commute Jones’ sentence.
The 41-year-old Jones was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to die for the shooting death of Edmond businessman Paul Howell during a carjacking.
Jones has maintained his innocence, alleging he was framed by a co-defendant who testified against him.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has issued the following press release:
GOVERNOR STITT COMMUTES JULIUS JONES’ SENTENCE TO LIFE WITHOUT POSSIBILITY OF PAROLE
OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 18, 2021) – Pursuant to Article 6, Section 10 of the Oklahoma Constitution, Governor Kevin Stitt today issued Executive Order 2021-25 to commute the death sentence of Julius Jones, who was tried and convicted for the first-degree murder of Paul Howell, to life imprisonment without the possibility for parole, on the condition that he shall never again be eligible to apply for, be considered for, or receive any additional commutation, pardon, or parole.
Governor Stitt released the following statement regarding his decision:
“After prayerful consideration and reviewing materials presented by all sides of this case, I have determined to commute Julius Jones’ sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.”
Article 6, Section 10 of the Oklahoma Constitution gives the Governor power to grant commutations “upon such conditions and with such restrictions and limitations as the Governor may deem proper.”
Pursuant to that provision, the Governor has ordered that Jones shall not be eligible to apply for or be considered for a commutation, pardon, or parole for the remainder of his life.