A Look Back At Julius Jones' Case After Gov. Stitt Commutes His Sentence

Thursday, November 18th 2021, 4:32 pm

Julius Jones' case dates back more than two decades. It has been a journey filled with endless, emotional legal battles for Jones and Paul Howell's family.

The events of Thursday and the past several months, even years have added to the historical precedence of the case. Throughout, Jones has maintained his innocence.

From the beginning, the 1999 shooting death of Howell has been in the spotlight. Edmond investigators said the motive was to rob Howell of his Chevrolet Suburban.

The only adult witness to the deadly robbery was Howell's sister. She described the suspect as a young black man, wearing a black beanie with hair sticking out, a white T-shirt and a red bandana over his face.

Days later, Edmond police arrested a 19-year-old Jones and his friend Chris Jordan.

Then Oklahoma County District Attorney Bob Macy announced he would seek the death penalty.

A jury found Jones guilty in 2002 and sentenced him to death based on his accomplice's testimony and two key pieces of evidence that were found in Jones' parent's home that included the murder weapon and a red bandana.

Following the trial Jones filed four appeals; all were denied by the state court of criminal appeals.

More attempts were made to spare Jones's life. Last month, he was granted a stay of execution only for it to be overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Another appeal to put the death row inmate's execution on hold was filed this month, but once again denied.

Only hours before Jones was scheduled to be executed, Gov. Kevin Stitt commuted his death sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The state attorney general's office responded to the commutation and said the evidence in Jones’ case confirmed his guilt and the death penalty was warranted.