The family of Paul Howell, an Edmond businessman murdered in 1999, formally voiced their disapproval Monday afternoon toward the state's Pardon and Parole Board. The board recommended commutation for Julius Jones two weeks ago.
Jones was convicted in Howell's death and is set to be executed Nov. 18. The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended 3-1 a commutation of Jones sentence to life in prison on Sept. 13. The motion goes to Gov. Kevin Stitt, who signed more than 750 commutations in his first year in office, setting a state record. However, none of those commutation decisions was as high profile as the Jones case. Julius Jones's quest for commutation has garnered national attention.
In the statement released to News 9, Howell's family said:
"The Howell family is extremely disappointed, disillusioned and saddened by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board's recommendation to commute the sentence of convicted murderer Julius Jones."
The statement then lists a number of reasons why the Howell family doesn't believe the Pardon and Parole Board can preside over a clemency hearing scheduled for October 26.
That document is included below:
Jones was only 22 years old when he was tried at the Oklahoma County Courthouse nearly two decades ago. At the time, District Attorney Bob Macy pursued the death penalty.
July 1999: The case dates back to July 1999, a bloody crime scene in Edmond.
The 45-year-old Edmond insurance executive was gunned down in his parents' driveway, in front of his sister and his two young daughters. The family recalled hearing two gunshots.The accomplice, 20-year-old Christopher Jordan, was said to have driven the gunman to the home.
Witnesses to the deadly shooting say the suspect stole Howell's 1997 Suburban. They described the killer as wearing a white shirt, a black beanie and a red bandana over his face.
July 30 and 31, 1999: Jordan and Jones were arrested days after the murder. Police found the murder weapon at Jones' parents home wrapped in a red bandana, as well as the clothes the gunman was described wearing at the crime scene.
Aug. 1999: In August 1999, Macy charged Jordan and Jones with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit a felony, in this case, robbery.
2001: Two years later, Jordan plead guilty to first-degree murder in exchange for a 30-year prison sentence and to testify against Jones. He was released from prison in 2014.
2002: In 2002, Jones was found guilty of Howell's murder after the jury deliberated for just over three hours. He was sentenced to death and has been on death row since the conviction.
Oct. 2018-March 2021: Support, both locally and nationally, grows for Julius Jones's sentence to be commuted:
March-September 2021: Legal teams for both the state and Jones prepare for commutation hearings.
Sept. 2021-Present: Pardon & Parole Board Recommends Commutation / What's Next For Julius Jones?