TV star Kim Kardashian reportedly supported the campaign by his relatives with a visit to the death row inmate Julius Jones.
Kardashian, who has been campaigning for judicial reform for some time, already met Jones on Monday on death row in the US state of Oklahoma, according to a local branch of ABC.The man was convicted of killing a businessman more than 20 years ago and still maintains his innocence to this day.
Promiportal TMZ reported today that Kardashian’s visit had already shown some influence: the website for Jones had increased its access data tenfold, and the organizers and the responsible committee for pardoning convicts received “thousands of emails”.Most recently, a documentary had already drawn public attention to Jones’ case.
Julius Jones Oklahoma
Julius Darius Jones (born July 25, 1980) is an American prisoner and former death row inmate from Oklahoma who was convicted of the July 1999 murder of Paul Howell. His case has received international attention due to claims of innocence and controversy surrounding his trial and conviction. Jones and his defense team maintain his innocence, arguing that he was at home when the murder occurred and that his co-defendant, Christopher Jordan, is the true perpetrator of the crime. Howell’s family maintains that Jones is guilty. Jones was scheduled to be executed on November 18, 2021.
However, four hours before his scheduled execution, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt commuted his sentence to life without parole.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has commuted the death sentence of Julius Jones, after mounting public pressure and just hours before he was set to be executed.
Stitt reduced Jones’ sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, intervening before his scheduled lethal injection but falling short of the state parole board’s recommendation.
“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,” Stitt announced.
Jones, 41, was sentenced to death for the 1999 shooting death of Paul Howell in Edmond, Okla. Jones has always maintained his innocence. Attorneys fighting for his freedom say the case leading to his conviction was seriously flawed.
Questions over Jones’ role in Howell’s murder led the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board to recommend this month that his death sentence be commuted to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Stitt’s Thursday order states that Oklahoma law does not permit the parole board to recommend that a death sentence be commuted to life with the possibility of parole, citing a specific article in the state constitution.
Stitt acted on the board’s recommendation just hours before Jones was set to be executed at 4 p.m. CST. Stitt’s order bears a time stamp of 11:47 a.m.
Jones’ mother Madeline Davis-Jones released a statement Thursday expressing her relief after dreading the execution of her son for over 20 years.
“I still believe that every day Julius spends behind bars is an injustice, and I will never stop speaking out for him or fighting to free him,” she said. “But today is a good day, and I am thankful to Governor Stitt for that.”
A video posted by a reporter from The Oklahoman shows crowds of Jones’ supporters at the Oklahoma State Capitol cheering when they heard the news.
Stitt’s silence over the intervening weeks prompted last-minute appeals from family members, activists and celebrities.
Major names like reality star Kim Kardashian West, who has become a criminal justice advocate, and Baker Mayfield, quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, called for justice in Jones’ case.
“This is the cold machinery of the Death Penalty in America. In just over two weeks, an innocent man could be put to death,” Kardashian West tweeted. “My heart breaks for Julius and so many others who have suffered from such tragic miscarriage of justice.”
Students from several area schools took part in a walkout on Wednesday to protest Jones’ impending execution. The Oklahoma City Public Schools told The New York Times that more than 1,800 students across 13 schools participated in the demonstration.