Julius Jones' Original Attorney Speaks With News 9 Ahead Of Scheduled Execution

Tuesday, November 16th 2021, 7:06 pm


Julius Jones is scheduled to be executed on Thursday.

His family and supporters have been adamant that his initial defense was inadequate.

Jones is currently on death row for the 1999 murder of Paul Howell. 

"The jury never heard the testimony of Julius' mother, father, sister, (and) brother," said Amanda Bass, a federal public defender.

But David McKenzie, Jones' original defense attorney, stands by that decision now two decades later.

He also told News 9 Jones made the decision to not take the stand himself.

"The alibi, the family alibi as I call it, is completely bogus, false, and could not have been run for a bunch of reasons," said McKenzie. "But the main one that I was concerned about is, I needed his parents not to get up on the stand and lie during the first stage, so they could beg for their son's life in the second stage."

Jones current legal team argues their client had ineffective counsel, an unfair trial and Jones is an innocent man.

"I don't think his trial was fair," said McKenzie. "I think that, and I've always said this, that racism played a part in it. Did it play a part to the exclusion of a fair trial? Well, the courts that have looked at this have disagreed with that."

As for his performance 20 years ago, McKenzie said he read the transcripts recently.

"I'm not really seeing the ineffectiveness that I thought may have been there years ago when I wrote affidavits, and I wrote a couple of them with regards to my performance," said McKenzie

McKenzie said he hasn't spoken to Jones in more than a decade.

If he were to speak to the Howells, he told News 9 he would tell them he feels responsible for the direction the docuseries that featured Jones' case took. 

McKenzie encouraged everyone to read the transcripts and not be led "blindly."

"An innocent man hangs his hat upon the truth, not upon lies and half-truths and smoke and mirrors," said McKenzie. "That's what the last defense is. That's what the Arizona team of Baich and Bass has done."