The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted 3-1 Monday to advance death row inmate Julius Jones’ commutation hearing to Stage II.
Jones was convicted and sentenced to death nearly 20 years ago for the 1999 killing of Edmond businessman Paul Howell. Jones' legal team introduced several new exhibits, days before this hearing, including an affidavit signed by Arkansas inmate Rodrick Wesley. Wesley says Jones' co-defendant, Christopher Jordan, confessed that he's the real killer.
"Mr. Wesley had no incentive to come forward, except to do the right thing. That is what he told us is that if I was in this situation or someone in my family was in that situation, I'd hope someone would come forward," said Dale Baich, an assistant federal public defender.
The Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater sent a letter to the Pardon and Parole Board asking them not to consider the new exhibits, saying the state was never notified about the new items, and they've never been presented in court.
Attorney General Mike Hunter said this is a case where people must put the emotions aside and look at the facts.
"There have been so many people here, and I know it's a big number, I know about the petition. Whose hearts and minds are in one place while the facts and evidence are in another," Hunter said.
His legal team first submitted an application for clemency in 2019.
Hunter tells News 9 that Stage II hearings are scheduled for June.