The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted to advance death row inmate Julius Jones’ commutation hearing to Stage II on Monday.
Jones' attorney said the amount of information that contradicts the state's case against Jones shocked him.
Dale Baich, the attorney representing Julius Jones said Jones' co-defendant, Chris Jordan had a secret plea deal that the jury never knew about. According to Baich, the story Jordan told to police is riddled with contradictions and full-fledged lies.
Baich also said there was proof that Jordan, not Julius Jones fit the eyewitness description given by the victim Paul Howell's sister who witnessed the killing.
Jones' sister, Antoinette Jones, shared her thoughts on the pardon and parole board's decision to move her brother's commutation application to the next step.
She, and Jones' attorney gave their comments at Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Antoinette said she's both excited for the good news but trying to stay focused on the upcoming hearing. She compared the feeling to getting ready for a playoff game.
During her speech Antoinette recalled what happened the night of Paul Howell's murder.
Jones' sister said she remembered getting her hair done at home, then playing board games with Julius while her parents cooked dinner. Then she talked about the night police raided their home, taking Julius into custody beginning what she calls her family's nightmare that's lasted over 20 years.
Antoinette then talked about her conversation with Julius before the pardon and parole boards vote.
"He sounded focused. So, I was like let me get focused too ‘cause I'm not going to lie I was crying, and I was praising, and I was thanking God because I still know, I'm still not, it hasn't set in that those three votes came," Antoinette said.
Attorney General Mike Hunter released a statement condemning the three board members who passed Julius Jones' commutation application to the next step.
In that statement, Attorney General Hunter said in part quote:
The three members who voted in favor of moving Jones to stage two did not apply objective standards to the law or the evidence. I encourage those members to go back and look at the 33-page and 849-page appendix we submitted last Monday, which completely invalidates every claim Julius Jones is innocent.
The documents have been made public.
Baich said, "we are asking the board to recommend to the governor that Julius' death sentence be commuted to time served."
The process moving forward typically takes 90 days, so they are estimating the commutation hearing could happen in June.