Five GOP Lawmakers Urge Governor to Spare Julius Jones’ Life

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(Headline USA) Five Republican Oklahoma lawmakers urged GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt on Thursday to grant clemency to death row inmate Julius Jones, who is scheduled to be executed next week.

Among the five are two state House members who represent parts of the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond, where Paul Howell was shot to death during a carjacking in 1999. Jones was convicted of Howell’s killing and sentenced to death.

Reps. Garry Mize and Preston Stinson both said in a statement Thursday there are too many doubts about Jones’ guilt.

“We can’t move forward with an execution under these circumstances in good conscience,” Mize said.

Other GOP lawmakers who joined Mize and Stinson are Republican Reps. John Talley, Logan Phillips and Kevin McDugle. They join a growing chorus of faith leaders, athletes and celebrities who have urged Stitt to spare Jones’ life.

Jones, who is scheduled to die on Nov. 18, has long maintained his innocence and alleges he was framed by his co-defendant who testified against Jones and served 15 years in prison. His case has drawn widespread attention since being featured in 2018 on the ABC documentary series “The Last Defense.”

But prosecutors, including Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, say the evidence against Jones is overwhelming. Prater, a Democrat, is not seeking reelection and has come under intense criticism for overzealous prosecutions. Last month, a judge allowed a petition to move forward that would impanel a grand jury to investigate Prater, reported Oklahoma City Free Press.

Prater’s attempts to attack any advocacy of Julius Jones and certain members of the Pardon and Parole Board, the paper reported, have added even more questions about Prater’s suitability of office by some segments of Oklahoma County’s population.

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board earlier this month voted 3-1 to recommend that Stitt commute Jones’ sentence to life in prison.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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