Will Oklahoma’s Governor Stop the Execution of a Man Many Think May Be Innocent?

People want Oklahoma’s governor not to execute Julius Jones this Thursday.

Jones (41), was sentenced to the death after he was found guilty of killing Paul Howell, a businessman, during a carjacking that took place in Edmond, Oklahoma, 1999. Jones insists that he was innocent of any wrongdoing and didn’t commit the crime. His defense lawyers and Jones point to Christopher Jordan as his co-defendant. Jordan was offered a plea bargain in return for Jones’ testimony. Jordan served 15 years and is currently free.

More than 6.4 Million people have signed a petition on asking for mercy. Kim Kardashian, a celebrity and advocate for criminal justice reform, spent time with Jones’ mom and supported his cause. On November 11, five Republican Oklahoma legislators called upon fellow Republican Governor. Kevin Stitt should grant Jones clemency. The lawmakers’ request comes on the heels of a 3–1 recommendation on November 1 from Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board supporting clemency for Jones. Many officials remain unsure of Jones’ guilt and feel that execution is not the best idea.

“The last thing the state should be doing is taking the life of someone who may be innocent,” said Oklahoma state Rep. Gary Mize (R–Edmond) in a prepared statement. This is a difficult case, given the confession of Julius Jones’ co-accused to be the true murderer. Under these conditions, we can’t proceed with execution in good conscience. It is my hope that Gov. Stitt accepts his recommendation from the Parole Board.”

Stitt is yet to make his decision. “Justice for Julius,” a campaign urging people to call Stitt and seek clemency for Jones, has urged them to do so.

After a six year moratorium, Oklahoma executed its first executions since then. This was due to concerns about midazolam, a drug used by the state, causing pain in the bodies of prisoners. John Marion Grant, who was about to die from convulsions and vomit during the execution that followed the end of the six-year moratorium ended.

Jones had filed a lawsuit along with other Oklahoma death row prisoners to end this protocol. They argued that midazolam’s dangers violated their Constitution right to be free from “cruel punishment” and were therefore unable to sue. Grant and Jones had their lawsuits dismissed because they did not propose alternate execution methods.

The 10th U.S. rejected Jones’ separate suit with four others challenging Oklahoma’s execution drug cocktails. Circuit Court of Appeals. It seems unlikely, based on past rejections that enough Supreme Court votes will be available to allow intervention. This leaves Stitt and a small number of Republican lawmakers, as well as the Pardon and Parle Board, with little hope for Jones’ guilt.