Gov. Kevin Stitt granted clemency for death row inmate Julius Jones.
Stitt commuted Jones’ sentence to life without the possibility of parole.
"Pursuant to Article 6, Section 10 of the Oklahoma Constitution, Governor Kevin Stitt today issued Executive Order 2021-25 to commute the death sentence of Julius Jones, who was tried and convicted for the first-degree murder of Paul Howell, to life imprisonment without the possibility for parole, on the condition that he shall never again be eligible to apply for, be considered for, or receive any additional commutation, pardon, or parole," according the executive order.
Stitt released the following statement regarding his decision:
“After prayerful consideration and reviewing materials presented by all sides of this case, I have determined to commute Julius Jones’ sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.”
Article 6, Section 10 of the Oklahoma Constitution gives the governor power to grant commutations “upon such conditions and with such restrictions and limitations as the Governor may deem proper.”
Pursuant to that provision, the Governor has ordered that Jones shall not be eligible to apply for or be considered for a commutation, pardon, or parole for the remainder of his life.
The office of Oklahoma attorney general John O'Connor also released a statement reacting to the Gov. Stitt's ruling.
“The Office of the Oklahoma Attorney General respects the statutory authority of the Governor to make this decision. I know Governor Stitt is making what he believes is the right decision. I appreciate the Governor’s condition that Mr. Jones never be released from prison. However, we are greatly disappointed that after 22 years, four appeals, including the review of 13 appellate Judges, the work of the investigators, prosecutors, jurors, and the trial Judge have been set aside. A thorough review of the evidence confirms Julius Jones’ guilt in this case and that the death penalty was warranted. Our office will continue to work for justice and for the safety of all Oklahomans, including families like Paul Howell’s. We recognize that the pain of losing a loved one never ends, and our hearts and prayers are with the Howell family.” Thank you.
The family of Paul Howell, the man who was shot and killed in this case back in 1999, also had reaction to Julius Jones' sentence commutation.
We know Governor Stitt had a difficult decision to make. We take comfort that his decision affirms the guilt of Julius Jones and that he shall not be eligible to apply for, or be considered for, a commutation, pardon or parole for the remained of his life. We would like to thank the countless people in the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office, the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office and law enforcement agencies across the state, whom for 22 years, for their tireless efforts and unwavering support. Julius Jones has forever changed our lives and the lives of his family and friends.
Julius Jones, convicted of murder in the 1999 death of Edmond businessman Paul Howell, had been scheduled to die by lethal injection at 4 p.m. Thursday. News 9 and News On 6 have covered this case and story in-depth. To make it easier to access this content, we're adding links to recent content related to the Julius Jones content onto one page: