Oklahoma death row inmate Julius Jones could reduce his sentence. The state amnesty and parole board voted Monday (Sept. 1) to recommend changing Jones’ death sentence to life with the possibility of parole. The board voted -1-1 in favor of Jones.
Jones, 41, was sentenced to death in 1999 for hacking cars and shooting Paul Howell, an insurance executive who returned from an ice cream run with his sister and his young daughters and dragged them into his parents’ driveway. The shooter was able to run over Howell after shooting him in front of his family.
John was a freshman at the University of Oklahoma at the time. He and his legal team have argued that Christopher Jordan, known at Jones High School, was responsible for the crime. They say that the next evening, when Jordan spent the night at Jones ‘house, he put on a murder weapon and a red salute eyewitness said the killer was wearing Jones’ bedroom crawl space. The local publication The City Sentinel reported that according to John’s lawyers, Bandana’s DNA did not match their client’s.
NBC News reported that Jordan denied it, testifying that he drove the night of Jones’ murder but did not shoot Howell. Jordan was sentenced to life in prison on a murder charge after admitting his role in the murder but was released 15 years later.
Related: Falsely convicted black people answer questions about death row
Jones said in a request for a change hearing that Howell was killed while he was having dinner with his parents that night. But in his 2000 trial, his lawyer did not call any witnesses on his behalf, and refused to call him to take a stand despite being willing to testify on his behalf.
Governor J. Kevin St Jones will make the final statement on whether the sentence will be changed. According to Oklahoman, he may be eligible for immediate parole because of the time he has already spent. You can reduce your life sentence without state parole.
Jones’ case won the support of celebrities and anti-death penalty activists. Kim Kardashian visited him at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary last year and millions of people signed an online petition on his behalf.
Jones’ case has also escalated quickly after Oklahoma Attorney General Jones recently requested that a date be set for the execution of seven death row inmates.
Oklahoma is the state with the third highest number of executions.