Oklahoma is now less than 24 hours away from executing death row inmate, Julius Jones.
Jones is to be executed by the state of Oklahoma on Thursday having had his last meal on Wednesday night.
Mr. Jones’ family and supporters – a group that includes celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and basketball player Russell Westbrook – are still pressuring Oklahoma Governor; Kevin Stitt to intervene and change Jones’ sentence to life, but Mr. Stitt has not yet made any statement in regards to this.
Mr. Stitt is also facing international pressure after the EU ambassador to the US wrote him a letter asking him to stop the execution and a petition against the execution has garnered over 6 million signatures.
Jones, 41, has spent more than half of his life in prison after being charged and convicted of killing Paul Howell during a carjacking in 1999. Jones has stated that he is innocent of the crime and was framed by his then friend and co-defendant, who shot Mr. Howell.
The state has put Jones to death by lethal injection, making him only the second inmate since the state took a six-year break from lethal drug use. A 60-year-old prisoner, the first person to be executed since the moratorium was lifted, convulsed and vomited during the execution, which raised further questions about the drugs.
Jones and his supporters have been visiting Mr. Stitt’s office in the days before the execution to try to secure a meeting to discuss a moratorium on the executions. ABC’s documentary’s last defense Explores Jones’ fight to escape the death penalty and has attracted the support of celebrities, especially those from Oklahoma.
Several Republican lawmakers from Oklahoma, including two representing the town where Howell was murdered, have urged Stitt to spare Jones.
State Rep. Garry Mize said in a statement that Oklahoma should not execute a person whose guilt is in doubt, and he echoed Jones’s attorneys, who said his co-defendant, Christopher Jordan, confessed to the murder. Jordan was convicted of lesser charges and has since been released.
State Rep. John Talley agreed, saying in a statement that the Pardon and Parole Board had spent hours looking at the case and determined that the justice system may have erred in convicting Jones.
“If we believe, as conservatives, in law and order and the criminal justice system, then we have to make sure the system is getting it right,” Talley said.
Jones is scheduled to die — at 4 p.m. Thursday. News media witnesses to the execution are limited to five representatives.
Death row inmates are allowed to request five witnesses and two clergies to attend the execution.
Any surviving victim(s) of the inmate are allowed to witness the execution. Those victims can request to have an accompanying support person, at the discretion of the agency director.
We hope the governor steps in and intervenes before an innocent man gets killed unjustly.