Oklahoma Gov Yet to Say Whether He'll Grant Clemency to Julius Jones as Execution Nears

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has yet to comment on the fate of death row inmate Julius Jones after Jones' supporters, including his mother, went to the Oklahoma state Capitol on Monday in an attempt to meet with the governor, according to the Associated Press.

Jones is scheduled to be executed on Friday for the 1999 carjacking and killing of businessman Paul Howell. However, Jones insists he is innocent, claiming he was framed by his high school friend Christopher Jordan.

Jordan was a co-defendant who testified against Jones. He served 15 years in prison and is free today. According to the Innocence Project, Jordan claims he was only the "getaway driver."

The Associated Press reported that Jones' mother, Madeline Davis-Jones, met with House Democrats at the Capitol before walking over to Stitt's office. An official with the governor's office told her he wasn't available and instead asked her to fill out a form for visitors.

Oklahoma's Pardon and Parole Board voted 3-1 to recommend Stitt spare Jones' life and change his sentence to life in prison. While a spokesman for the governor said Stitt is taking that recommendation into consideration, he has not yet commented on what the decision will be.

With a federal appeals court recently denying Jones and other inmates to stay their executions, pressure from Davis-Jones and other supporters is mounting for Stitt to make a decision.

"The governor takes his role in this process seriously and is carefully considering the Pardon and Parole Board's recommendation as he does in all cases," Charlie Hannema, Stitt's chief of communications, said in a statement.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Julius Jones, death row
FILE - Julius Jones faces execution this Friday for a 1999 killing if Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt does not grant him clemency. Above, this February 5, 2018, file photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows Jones. File/Oklahoma Department of Corrections via AP

State and county prosecutors have said the evidence against Jones is overwhelming. Trial transcripts show witnesses identified Jones as the shooter and placed him with Howell's stolen vehicle. Investigators also found the murder weapon and a bandana with Jones' DNA in an attic space above his bedroom. Jones claims the murder weapon was placed there by the actual killer, who visited Jones' house after Howell was shot.

The state's Pardon and Parole Board voted 3-1 to recommend Stitt grant clemency to Jones and commute his sentence to life in prison.

Stitt spokesman Hannema didn't answer questions about whether the governor planned to meet with Jones' supporters, but attorneys for Jones have said they met with Stitt last week.

Jones' case drew national attention after it was profiled in "The Last Defense," a three-episode documentary produced by actress Viola Davis that aired on ABC in 2018.

Governor Kevin Stitt, Republican
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has yet to comment about granting death row inmate Julius Jones clemency. Above, Stitt (R-OK) speaks during a roundtable at the State Dining Room of the White House, June 18, 2020. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images